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Data shows lives of August rioters

More than a third of youngsters involved in this summer's riots had been excluded from school at some point in the last year, according to figures.

Those involved in the looting and violence which swept through English cities in August were younger, poorer, involved in more trouble and achieved lower grades than average, detailed analysis of the histories of those charged over the disturbances showed.

But gangs "generally did not play a pivotal role", officials said, and most police forces found that fewer than one in 10 of those arrested were gang members.

The figures, which were based on matching Ministry of Justice records with those from the national pupil database held by the Department for Education, showed 36% of young people - some 139 10 to 17-year-olds - who appeared before the courts over the riots had received one or more fixed-term exclusions in 2009/10, compared with just 5.6% of all pupils aged 15.

A total of 11.3% of young people appearing before courts over the riots had been permanently excluded, compared with 0.1% of all those children aged 15 at the start of the 2009/10 academic year.

Three in 10 (30%) were persistent absentees from school, compared with fewer than one in 20 (4%) of all pupils in secondary schools run by local authorities, the figures showed.

The figures also showed one in eight of all crimes committed during the disturbances were muggings. A total of 664 individuals were targeted, with victims being robbed or injured, accounting for some 13% of the 5,326 crimes recorded.

Over 2,500 shops and businesses were targeted by the looters and vandals, with more than 230 homes being targeted by burglars or vandals. Three quarters of all those who appeared in court had a previous conviction or caution.

Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert said the figures confirmed existing criminals were "out in force" during the disturbances.

"The tough sentences that have rightly been handed down to rioters, and subsequently upheld on appeal, send out a strong deterrent message that society will not tolerate the appalling behaviour we saw on our streets," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph