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Years active 1950s-present
Territory Jamaica, United States, Canada, United Kingdom

Yardie (or Yawdie) is a term derived from the Jamaican patois for home or "yard".[1] Persons of Jamaican origin thus came to be known as Yardies, particularly within the Caribbean expatriate community outside Jamaica.

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 reference of Jamaica as "back a yard". A large influx of inner city Jamaican immigration to Britain during the 1980s led to the rise of gang violence or behaviour on the part of Jamaicans which 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.[2]

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

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.[3]

British police are hesitant to categorise Yardie gangs as organised 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.[4]

A number of operations to combat Yardie and black gun crime have been set up, notably Operation Trident in the London area.[5] Yardie (or imitator) gangs also appear to be active in Bristol, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Nottingham but to a far lesser extent.

Some maintain that the supposed reach and influence in communities of these "Yardies" is a myth. [6]


  1. ^ Allsop, Richard (2010). New Register of Caribbean English Usage. Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press. ISBN 978-976-640-298-3. 
  2. ^ Alan Wright (17 June 2013). Organised Crime. Routledge. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-1-134-01890-1. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Police tackle London's Yardies", BBC News, 20 July 1999.
  6. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/371604.stm