Exclusive: A survey by YouGov for Channel 4/ITN reveals British people think poor parenting, criminal behaviour and gang culture is causing the unrest in cities across the UK.

'Poor parenting' to blame for UK riots, says exclusive poll.

The parents of youths caught committing offences are to blame for the UK riots and they should pay the price, according to more than 2,000 people polled for Channel 4/ITN.

More than two-thirds believe the mums and dads of under-18s who are convicted of an offence should be prosecuted.

Eighty-two per cent think those convicted of criminal damage should be sent to jail and 91 per cent want looters to serve time behind bars.

Claims that Government spending cuts and the current economic climate helped create the tension have been largely dismissed.

Twenty-one per cent said the disorder was purely "criminal behaviour", with 13 per cent pointing the finger at gang culture in the UK's urban areas.

Just 7 per cent thought the chaos was triggered by social inequality and 5 per cent blamed Government cuts.

Support for self-defence

The survey also found widespread support for communities who took policing into their own hands. Eighty-three per cent agreed local residents were right to defend their shops and homes.

Confidence in the police appears to be very low, with 84 per cent agreeing that the response by officers was "not tough enough".

Politicians did not fare much better, with 71 per cent telling the survey MPs had dealt badly with the crisis.

The stark findings follow a week of unrest which began with the Tottenham riots and spread across London and elsewhere in the UK, from Birmingham to Manchester and Liverpool.

The poll's results and the issues surrounding the riots will be debated live on Channel 4 on Saturday 13 August at 7pm. Presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy will be joined by a panel in front of an invited audience of 80 people.

A total of 2,075 British adults were surveyed by YouGov on the 10 and 11 August 2011.