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 Cop to deliver free self-defence classes for people in Darlington


A police officer and martial arts expert is hosting free self-defence classes for people in Darlington.


The classes will equip participants with basic self-defence techniques, avoidance, awareness and breakaway techniques, and knowledge of danger and warning signs.


Hosted by PC Neil Walton, the classes will take place later this month and follow on from the hugely successful women’s only class which was held last year.


A women’s class will take place on September 21, while a men’s class will be held the following day on September 22.


Both classes will run from 1pm to 4pm at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington. Registration opens at 12pm.


A special one-off session for emergency service workers will also be held on Sunday, September 22 from 10am to 12pm at the same venue. Registration is open from 9.30am.


This session is aimed at anyone who works in a public facing role in the blue light services, as well as social workers and council workers. It is designed to help with close quarter knife awareness, should they ever be threatened with a knife through their line of work.  


PC Walton said: “We were overwhelmed with the response to last year’s class and places filled up really quickly, so we wanted to give those who missed out the chance to attend another class. 


“As a result of feedback from last year’s event, we have also introduced a men’s session this year, as well as a special one-off session for emergency service workers who work with members of the public.  


“The free sessions were started after we spoke to members of the public at community engagement events who said they were interested in learning self-defence and personal safety techniques.


“I’d like to reassure people that these events have not been organised in response to any increase in crime. We are simply providing something that we think will be beneficial to the people of Darlington and will give them useful skills to keep themselves safe.”


A lifelong martial artist having practiced since the age of five, PC Walton has since gone on to hold numerous black belts and instructor ranks in several arts, has fought internationally in Thai boxing, and has served as a police personal safety trainer. 


He is also ranked as an expert in Krav Maga, which is a military self-defence system developed for the Israel Defence Forces and Israeli security forces. He was awarded the rank in 2013 after training in Israel.


To book a place on the women’s class, visit


To book a place on the men’s class, visit


To book a place on the blue light workers class, visit