A POLICE officer who doubles as a renowned martial arts expert is giving up his time to ensure women feel safer on the streets.
PC Neil Walton was inspired to organise a free self-defence class after being approached by a number of women seeking advice.
Regarded as one of the country’s best martial arts instructors, PC Walton will share his safety skills at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre on Saturday, May 19.
He hopes to equip women with basic self-defence techniques, including avoidance, awareness and break away strategies.
PC Walton also aims to instil knowledge of danger and warning signs to all who attend his class, which is open to any woman over 18.
The skills he will pass on have been honed through many years of devotion to martial arts, which he began to learn at the age of five.
The 42-year-old is one of handful of people in the UK to be ranked as an expert in Krav Maga and has fought internationally in Thai boxing.
He has also been a British Combat Association instructor and served as a police personal safety trainer.
However, it was through his work as a neighbourhood police officer in Darlington that PC Walton became aware of the need for women to feel safer.
He was approached by members of the public at community engagement events and said: ““During these events, a lot of the women we spoke to were interested in learning self-defence and personal safety techniques.
“I want to reassure people that this event has not been organised in response to any increase in crime - County Durham and Darlington remains a safe place to live and work.
“We are simply providing something that we think will be beneficial to the people of Darlington and will give them some useful skills to keep themselves safe.”
Inspector Chris Knox, from Darlington Neighbourhood Police Team, added: “This is an excellent initiative to offer advice to members of the public and give them the necessary skills to defend themselves should they find themselves in a difficult situation.” The event, which begins at 1.30pm, will last around an hour and a half. Participants should wear comfortable training attire. To confirm attendance, email email@example.com