Butetown drug epidemic unchallenged by local police, citizens say

Butetown locals are calling for police to make a greater response to the drug dealers ravaging their community. But what are they doing in the meantime?

A square of houses in the heart of Butetown, Cardiff

The citizens of Butetown, dismayed by the perceived lack of effort by police in Butetown in making an impact on the community’s pervasive drug trade, are taking matters into their own hands.  

The community has been taking a stand against the crisis, with the formation of a neighborhood watch scheme in which groups patrol the streets three nights a week.  

According to Aiden, a member of one of these groups, they sometimes face aggression: “Sometimes they throw eggs and things like that. You’re threatening their business.” 


A typical Butetown street

To locals, the crisis is unmissable in everyday life, with dealing regularly visible outside homes, parks and playing fields in broad daylight, despite the closeness of Cardiff’s largest police station. 

“It’s an epidemic,” says Butetown councilor Saeed Ebrahim.

According to residents, the majority of the dealers are not Butetown locals, but are drawn there by the perceived lack of policing.  

“The majority of them come from outside to do their deals. Because it’s so easy! They will do it in front of you. They don’t care about anyone,” said Aiden.

Retired carpenter Frank Bridgman, 67, said: “I’ve brought it to the police all the time, and as soon as the gangs see the police, they run away. Two minutes later they turn back.”

An apartment building in Butetown

When asked as to whether the dealers are aggressive, a resident who preferred to be unnamed said: “If you confronted them they would be. Most people don’t. They still have to live here.”  

While most residents feel powerless against the problem, some have openly confronted the dealers, but with little success.   

On the question of what can be done to quench the crisis, the locals are in consensus as to the need for more effective policing.   

“The least they can do now and then is go to their houses, raid their houses,” said the anonymous local. “No examples have been locked up, sent to prison for a substantial amount of time.”  

“We need more policing to stop this evil from spreading in the community,” said Muhamoud, another resident.  



A playing field in Butetown near which drug deals can sometimes be seen in daytime.