Tyneside youth worker recognised for drawing teenager away from extremism

Justin Laidler with his award Credit: North Tyneside Council

A youth justice worker from Tyneside has received a Police commendation for helping a vulnerable young person to break away from an extremist ideology.

Justin Laidler, working for North Tyneside Council’s Youth Justice Service, spent 18 months working closely with the young person to try and draw them away from some extremist beliefs that became a concern for the authorities.  

He has now been described as ‘inspirational’ and his intervention as ‘life-changing’ in a commendation from Superintendent Matthew Davison at the North East Counter Terrorism Unit.

The commendation highlights his commitment, skill, and creativity in helping the young person to turn away from extremism and how his actions went far beyond the expectations of his role.

In a statement to Mr Laidlow, Superintendent Davison said:

He added: "Your actions and influence on the young person has been inspirational and life changing, but as well as that you have been an inspiration to those who worked alongside you throughout the process.”

Julie Firth, Assistant Director of Children’s Services at North Tyneside Council, said: “Justin was assigned to a very complex and challenging case working with someone who is young and impressionable, and who was being drawn into an ideology that raised a red flag with the authorities.

 “There is a very important role for youth workers in helping to identify and prevent marginalisation and radicalisation among young people and the work Justin has done has been truly life-changing for the young person and their family.