Riots: Who was rioting and why were they doing it?

Last updated at 08:50

Violence and vandalism spread through parts of London and other cities across England at the beginning of August. Who was involved, why did it happen, and what's being done about it?

Who was doing this?

Many of the people involved in the looting and violence appeared to be teenagers and young people.

London's police said that over half of the nearly 1,000 people arrested so far were younger than 20 years old.

One boy, aged just 11, has been arrested and charged with burglary - but most are older than that.

Why is this happening?

Trouble first broke out in Tottenham on Saturday 6 August after a local man Mark Duggan was shot dead by police during an operation to arrest him.

Police said the peaceful protest over Mark Duggan's death was "hijacked" by "mindless thugs" and turned violent.

Since then, the vandalism and looting that occurred seemed to have no real connection to the original protest.

Because the trouble spread across so many different areas, it was very difficult to work out why it was happening.

Many politicians, officials and local residents condemned the violence, saying it was mindless criminality.

Some said it was simply 'copycat violence' - greedy people who just want to make trouble and steal things.

Others say factors like unemployment and not feeling part of society have played a role - though no one thinks that's any excuse for rioting.

Which places were affected?

While the rioting began in parts of London over the weekend, on Monday and Tuesday nights there was violence in other cities in England.

Over 400 people have been arrested in the West Midlands, after looting and violence in Birmingham city centre, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich. Bristol saw people setting fire to cars and damaging shops, while hundreds of people clashed with police in the south of Liverpool.

On Tuesday night the violence and vandalism spread to Manchester and Salford, while in Birmingham three men were killed after being run over by a car.

But the capital London remains the city that was hit the worst - less than a year before it's due to host the Olympics.

What are the police doing?

More police officers are out patrolling the streets.

On Monday night there were 6,000 police on patrol in London, but lots of people said that wasn't enough. So on Tuesday night there were 16,000 officers on the streets of the capital.

Over 1,500 people have already been arrested across the country and the police say they won't stand for any more violence.