The first detailed survey of young people’s reaction to the disorder found one in five 12 to 18-year-olds were “angry” and “disappointed” by the scenes of violence in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
One in three blamed youths who were bored in the summer holidays, while almost half said they thought the rioters and looters had been emboldened by the belief that they would not be caught and punished.
The poll of 1,000 teenagers, commissioned by the inner city cricket scheme, StreetChance, also disclosed the levels of under age drinking and drug use, with 19% of those aged 12 to 14 admitting that they drank alcohol.
The same proportion of under-18s said their peers took drugs, while this rose to almost one third among 17 and 18-year-olds.
The poll was commissioned to coincide with the national launch of StreetChance, a scheme backed by police and the charity, the Cricket Foundation, which targets potentially disaffected youths in inner city areas to improve relations between different groups.
Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Cricket Foundation, said it was “no surprise” that boredom leads to bad behaviour.
“The survey clearly shows that young people in cities are crying out for positive activities during the long summer holidays,” he said. “Children need an outlet to channel their energies and a structured competitive environment like street cricket can help provide this.”
The poll of 1,000 people aged between 12 and 18 found almost a third (31%) of those in London said the riots occurred because young people get bored during their break.
About 46% of those polled said they thought the riots and looting took place because young people do not respect police, while 43% said they believed people joined in because they thought they would not get caught.
The StreetChance scheme, which began in London but will soon be launched across the country, is supported by Barclays Spaces for Sports.