From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Territory Jamaica, United States, Canada, United Kingdom

Yardie (or Yawdie) is a term stemming from the slang name originally given to occupants of "government yards" — social housing projects with very basic amenities — in Trenchtown, and Jonestown adjacent neighbourhoods in West Kingston, Jamaica.[1] Trenchtown was originally built as a housing project following devastation caused by Hurricane Charlie;[citation needed] each development was built around a central courtyard with communal cooking facilities.[2] Poverty, crime, and gang violence became endemic in the neighbourhood, leading the occupants of Trenchtown to be in part stigmatised by the term "Yardie".

Jamaican-born British writer Victor Headley wrote a bestselling 1992 novel entitled Yardie.

United Kingdom[edit]

During the 1950s, the British Government encouraged immigration to the country to fill existing job vacancies. Within the Caribbean community, new arrivals from Jamaica were sometimes referred to as "Yardies" due to their lower financial status. In the following years, gang violence or behaviour on the part of Jamaicans became known in wider British society as "Yardie culture" and the participants "Yardies". The terms "Yardie gang" or "Yardie gun violence" were largely used by the British media to describe violent crimes in London's black community. The gangs in London are specifically known to have occupied and operated in their infamous grounds of Brixton, Harlesden, and Notting Hill.[3]

Criminal activity[edit]

Yardie gangs are notorious for their involvement in gun crime and the illegal drug trade, notably marijuana and crack cocaine in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] In 1993, Yardies were blamed for the murder of Police Constable Patrick Dunne, shot dead while patrolling in Clapham.[4]

British police are hesitant to categorise Yardie gangs as organized crime, since there appears to be no real structure or central leadership; gang affiliations can be described as loose at best.[citation needed] Neither have Yardies made any attempts at setting up fronts for their illegal activities, nor any serious attempts to corrupt and infiltrate law enforcement organisations.[citation needed] Academics have noted a tendency to over-label black British crime as "Yardie"-related due to stereotype and social narrative.[5]

A number of operations to combat Yardie and black gun crime have been set up, notably Operation Trident in the London area.[6] Yardie (or imitator) gangs also appear to be active in Bristol, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Nottingham but to a far lesser extent.

In Bristol in the late 1990s into the early 2000s, Yardie gangs fought a turf war with the native Aggi Crew, members of which had recently been released from prison on parole.[citation needed] The potential for violence was so great that armed patrols were called out on the city streets, but eventually the Aggis were arrested and thrown back in jail for parole violation and most of the "yardies" were deported back to Jamaica.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Ian Thomson (29 March 2011). The Dead Yard: A Story of Modern Jamaica. Nation Books. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-1-56858-666-3. 
  2. ^ Herbert C. Covey (2010). Street Gangs Throughout the World. Charles C Thomas Publisher. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-0-398-07970-3. 
  3. ^ Alan Wright (17 June 2013). Organised Crime. Routledge. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-1-134-01890-1. 
  4. ^ Catharine Arnold (5 July 2012). Underworld London: Crime and Punishment in the Capital City. Simon and Schuster. pp. 407–. ISBN 978-0-85720-117-1. 
  5. ^ Cyrille Fijnaut; Letizia Paoli (21 January 2007). Organised Crime in Europe: Concepts, Patterns and Control Policies in the European Union and Beyond. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 428–. ISBN 978-1-4020-2765-9. 
  6. ^ "Police tackle London's Yardies", BBC News, 20 July 1999.