Lack of confidence in the police response to the initial riots in London led to further disturbances across the country, an independent report has found.
The vast majority of people interviewed for a study of the causes of the disorder said they believed the "sole trigger" for disturbances in their areas was the perception that the police "could not contain" the scale of rioting in Tottenham, north London, and then across the capital in August.
"Lack of confidence in the police response to the initial riots encouraged people to test reactions in other areas," the Riots Communities and Victims Panel found.
"Most of the riots began with some trouble in retail areas with a critical mass of individuals and groups converging on an area.
"Rioters believed they would be able to loot and damage without being challenged by the police.
"In the hardest-hit areas, they were correct."
The findings were outlined in a series of recommendations in the interim report detailing the "sometimes horrifying and tragic" accounts of people's experiences of the disturbances.