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About Sure Safe

Aggression management expert, Owen Murray MBE, has set up his own training consultancy to help combat escalating violence in the workplace. Sure Safe, based at South Hylton in Sunderland, has been established to deal with the growing incidents of verbal and physical abuse faced by both private and public sector employees.

Owen has recently gained a  6 Dan in the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB), with only 8 people in the country to gain the this award and Owen being the oldest. Its a great achievement for Owen and Sure Safe.

Karate black belt Owen's business is one of the latest new enterprises to get kick started by the North East of England Business & Innovation Centre (BIC) at Sunderland Enterprise Park. And while a Sixth Dan Black Belt and karate teacher, Owen, 65, stresses his training courses are not about self defence and inflicting pain, but rather teach breakaway and restraining techniques to help diffuse situations which could lead to physical attacks

Despite losing his left hand in a printing accident aged 20, Owen has 40 years' experience in restraining techniques under his belt. With a combination 10 years general training and 39 years karate training. He went on to captain the Sunderland Karate team which won the national championships in 1991. He was also part of the British team that clinched two gold medals at the European championships in the 1980s. Already his services are in demand by a range of organisations including security staff at the University of Sunderland, the city's Youth Offending Team, and a number of local hospitals and housing associations.

His firm is also a member of the National Control and Restraint General Services Association. Owen who was awarded the MBE in 1994 in recognition for his sporting achievements and numerous charity fund raising efforts, explained: "Statistics show an increase in physical and non-physical violence in the workplace, and for employers to meet obligations under Health and Safety regulations, training should be considered where employees come into contact with verbal of physical abuse. "

There is also a growing trend emerging of employees taking legal action against their employers due to mental and physical injuries suffered at work. "The courses I offer train staff to communicate and de-escalate potential serious situations, and to develop confidence and skills to break away and escape from physical attack." Andrew Seekings, Policy and Support Manager for the City of Sunderland's Regeneration and Housing Service, took himself and 20 staff on a course with Sure Safe as part of their risk assessment policies.

He commented: "We have a lot of staff in out-reach offices and they need to feel comfortable handling potentially difficult situations. The training received taught us very valuable breakaway skills and has given everyone the confidence to do that."

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Owen Murray MBE has gained a  6 Dan in the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB), with only 8 people in the country to gain the this award and Owen being the oldest. Its a great achievement for Owen and Sure Safe.




Derek Huntley joined the police Service in January 1995 and has recently retired from his role ranging from a 24/7 officer to that of a Community Officer. Derek is a new addition to Sure Safe and will be supplying training for general services.

Donna Finnigan, BSL Level 1,2 & 3, Recently completed prepare to teach in the life long learning sector 7303 & 4. Has mental health & learning disabilities background for the last 15 years.
Involved within the deaf community for the past 33 years having grown up with a deaf family member.

Working in the NHS for the past 14 years and been involved in developing their service requirements. Teaches NHS & Social Services deaf awareskills and basic British Sign Language (BSL).  Donna has been involved with The General Services Association for the Past 13 years.

Frank Harris joined the NHS in 1976, working as a Registered Nurse for adults with learning disabilities, specialising in people who present a challenge services. Having trained and started his career in Liverpool, he moved to the Aldershot/Farnham area where he managed a unit for adults with challenging behaviours. In 1997 he moved to Sunderland to manage a unit, before moving into community services, in 2005 moved from nursing into training and development within the NHS. He retired in May 2011. He holds the following qualifications ENB 908 teaching and assisting, GSA instructor, first aid trainer/assessor (NUCO), moving and handling (people) instructor/assessor (ROSPA) and FACE (Functional Assesment of Core Environments) risk assessment accredited trainer.

Steve Matteson Sure Safe

Educational qualifications:
Foundation Course in Fine Art.
BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art at Exeter College of Art & Design.
Recipient of the Erasmus Fellowship, Exeter, Frankfurt & Rotterdam.
Exhibited widely in UK, Europe and USA, 1980 to present.

Lecturer in Fine Art at Exeter College of Art & Design.

Lecturer in Fine Art at Plymouth College of Art & Design.
Lecturer in Fine Art at Kingston University, London.
Lecturer in Fine Art at Maidenhead College of Art & Design.
Lecturer in Fine Art at Barnstaple College of Further Education, Devon.

Shotokan Karate qualifications and achievements:
Commenced karate training in 1973.
Achieved 1st Dan 1980 Competed for Exeter, St Ives, Devon, South of England and England FBSKUI
       Regularly from 1977 to 2009 in England, Scotland, Spain, Romania, New York, Holland and Italy.
Visited and trained in Japan in 2003, 2006, 2009 & 2010 training at the
 Japan Karate Association headquarters in Tokyo.
 Also clubs at Kamakura, Nishigahara and Yawanato.
Judges Certificate awarded in 2010.
Achieved 4th Dan in 2012.

Chief instructor of St Ives Shotokan Karate Club from 1996 to present. P.M.V.A. Instructor for Sure Safe for 8 years based in St. Ives, Cornwall.

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Last Updated: 19-03-19