A FORMER soldier is holding training sessions on how to defend yourself from knife crime.

Damien Heim, of Ares Tactical Concepts, based in Shoebury, has over the past three-years developed training to help put a stop to serious injury and tragic loss of life, due to knife and other violent crime.

Mr Heim, who has raised his family in the area and a former member of First Battalion – The Parachute Regiment, said he was inspired to hold the sessions to make Southend a safer place to live in response to the number of serious crimes in the borough.

He said: "I felt it was time to put my knowledge and experience to good use and help people become more aware of the issues surrounding knife crime and give them the skills they need to avoid becoming victims in two key ways."

"Essentially we have taken the basics of risk management and applied them in a very practical way to personal safety and security.

"Since my return to civilian life, I have seen an escalation in crime and the emergency services stretched, I felt it was time to share my years of professional knowledge, skill and experience to help make my community a safe place.

"It’s better to have skills you might never need to use, than need skills you don’t have."

The first class - Knife Awareness Training - provides knowledge and tactical strategies to avoid becoming involved in a knife incident in the first place as well as teaching individuals how to de-escalate threatening situations.

The second - Dynamic Knife Defence Training - is designed to help save lives and reduce the potential for serious, life-threatening or fatal injury, by providing people with the skills to defend themselves if the opportunity to avoid, de-escalate or escape an attack has failed.

They take place on Thursday and Saturday in Rayleigh and Westcliff. Visit www.arestacticalconcepts.com/events.