UK Politics

Riot problems still an issue, Mayor Boris Johnson says

Photo: John Hesse
Image caption Police cars and businesses were burned during the riots last August

England's riots revealed "deep social problems" that still need to be addressed a year on, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said.

The mayor told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme the London 2012 Olympics was "playing a role" in the solution.

"It is sending a clear message about effort and achievement, and what it takes to connect the two," he said.

Riots spread across England after police shot Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London, on 4 August last year.

The mayor said £70m had been pumped into inner city areas of London to try to avoid a repeat of the violence and looting, but "lots of different solutions" were needed.

"There are still deep social problems that we've got to address by looking at what happens in the lives of young people, their role models, their ideals, what they want to achieve.

"I do think sport and the Olympics play a role. Sport builds self-esteem, character, confidence and the ability to understand how to lose - all those vital things," he said.

Media captionBoris Johnson: We've been spending £70m on solutions to riots

The mayor went on to say there had been a "culture of easy gratification and entitlement" during last year's riots.

He said the "clear message" that the Olympics was sending "could not come at a better time for a country that is making a difficult psychological adjustment to a new world without easy credit, where life is considerably tougher than it was before the crunch".

Mr Johnson also stressed the importance of getting young people into work, stating there were 67,000 more apprenticeships than a year ago.

Meanwhile Jason Featherstone, director of Surviving Our Streets, a charity which works with young people, told BBC Radio 5 live that he believed things were "still as raw as a year ago" and there could be a repeat of last year's riots.

"I can't see too much progress been made, in the sense of the killing of Mark Duggan, the lack of police information coming forward in regards to what happened in that case.

"I believe we are teetering on more unrest - another incident like this might happen again," he said.

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