Various opinions have been expressed and disputed among politicians, in the press and elsewhere suggesting possible contributory factors to the unrest; these include the following:
- Fatal shooting of a suspect by the police
- The lack of response by the police when confronted by the protest
- Local tensions with police
- Criminal opportunism
- Recreational violence
- Gang culture 
- The Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police force is reported to have characterised the behaviour of rioters in Birmingham as being motivated by greed, not anger.
- Social irresponsibility
- High unemployment and cuts in public services
- Economic crisis
- Social exclusion; poverty; the growing gap between rich and poor.
- The Underclass
- A “sense of entitlement” among British youth[70