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'Olympics have prevented repeat of civic unrest'
Thursday, 09 August 2012
'Feel good factor': Middlesex University's Dr Anthony Goodman says the Olympics has helped prevent a repeat of last year's riots
THE feel-good factor of the Olympics could have saved the country from another summer of civic unrest, according to one Middlesex University academic.
Dr Anthony Goodman, professor of criminal and community justice studies at the university, said that the economic gloom brought on by the recession was a factor in last summer's disturbances.
It saw looters and vandals tear through a succession of London boroughs over three nights at the beginning of August.
Dr Goodman said: "You have a growing disparity between the haves and have-nots. A lot of people who went there (to loot) didn't have a lot of life opportunities.
"The amount of income they get has been cut back. For a lot of people, they just don't see what life is going to offer them."
The academic added that there is "no simple explanation" for why rioting, looting and vandalism erupted across the nation last year, but was clear that "it wasn't about broken Britain".
"We have got to give young people a hope in life and we need to look at things like supporting youth clubs and other activities that will engage them in constructive behaviour," Dr Goodman said.
The professor pointed to the buzz generated by this summer's Olympic Games as having reduced the threat of further unrest.
He said: "At the moment people feel as if they are a part of something.
"Stopping this sort of thing from happening again is about giving people something they can enjoy and believe in."
Dr Goodman also believes the excitement surrounding the Games could be harnessed as a long-lasting force for good.
He said: "What an opportunity we have now to put on more things for young people.
"This isn't about broken Britain it is about the need to give people hope."
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Wednesday, 22 May 2013
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