Disorder spread across the country during the Summer riots because of a perception of weak policing in London, according to a report Monday.

Images of the police standing back actually sent a message out that people could challenge them in other areas; we found that some people turned up to test the reaction of the police, said Darra Singh, chairman of the panel that wrote the report.

We're not actually blaming the police for the disorder and we're not experts in police tactics but our lens on this particular issue is through the views of victims and that's why we make that point, Singh told Sky TV.

Riots first broke out in Tottenham in August before unrest spread to other cities in England, including Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.

The report, by the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel, found that people interviewed believed police failed to deal with the riots in London, which triggered further disorder in other areas.

Singh stressed there was no one single factor motivating the disorder, but said the report found that rioters ranged from organised criminals and violent aggressors who wanted to attack police to opportunists as well as spectators.

Recommendations outlined in the independent report include a fundamental reform of Britain's 1886 Riot Damages Act to ensure that victims receive compensation quickly.

Around 5,700 businesses and homeowners have claimed compensation and have used the legislation to claim money, according to the panel.

Nobody we've met has received damages so far under the riots damages act, said Singh. We've been to 17 affected areas by the riots and met several small business owners who still haven't received any compensation.

We're calling for the process to be speeded up so money and help is sent directly to victims as quickly as possible. The large wave of demand, under this act, has caught the authorities off hand, he added.

The 111-page interim report from the panel is based on visits to areas affected by the riots, as well as meetings at a young offenders institution with some of the perpetrators.

The panel looked at the causes of the riots in England, how communities responded and ways to avoid a recurrence.

The report said the panel estimated that between 13,000 and 15,000 people were actively involved in the disturbances between August 6 and 10.

The panel's full findings are expected to be published next March.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan)