Police officers could lose jobs over father's holiday park death

Paul Gladwell, from Colchester, died at Pontins Pakefield

Paul Gladwell, a Colchester dad-of-three, died at Pontins in Pakefield, near Lowestoft, on Valentine's Day 2017 - Credit: Archant/Supplied by family

Two Suffolk police officers are facing gross incompetency hearings over the death of a 38-year-old man at a Lowestoft holiday park.

Paul Reynolds, from Colchester, died at Pontins Holiday Park in Lowestoft on Valentine's Day in 2017 after he was involved in a fight with another holidaymaker.

After a three week inquest into his death, a jury ruled his death had been unlawful and security staff at the park had acted "dangerously", leading to his partner Carrie Bennett proclaiming that "the truth had come out".

Undated family handout photo of Paul Reynolds with his partner Carrie Bennett. Mr Reynolds died afte

Undated family handout photo of Paul Reynolds with his partner Carrie Bennett. Mr Reynolds died after he was restrained at a Pontins holiday park after his partner accosted a guest whose child was allegedly hitting their son, an inquest heard. Issue date: Monday April 19, 2021. - Credit: PA/SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

And following the hearing, it has been confirmed that following an investigation from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) that two of the police officers that responded to the incident will face a gross incompetency hearing as a result of their actions that day.

The inquest heard how security staff had knelt on the neck of Mr Reynolds for 11 minutes while restraining the father-of-three, which had contributed to his death.

Police officers performed CPR on him in a police van and called for an ambulance after arresting him, but the inquest concluded that they had missed the opportunity to save his life by intervening before his arrest.

And while the Crown Prosecution Service opted against charging the officers with gross negligence manslaughter, it has been agreed by the constabulary and the IOPC they could now face losing their jobs.

A third officer who attended the scene has already resigned from the force.

IOPC regional director Graham Beesley said: "Our thoughts remain with Mr Reynolds' family and all those affected by his death. 

"Our role is to ensure that when there is a death following police conduct, all circumstances are thoroughly examined."

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A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary said: "Suffolk Constabulary is committed to ensuring officers are fully trained to deal with any issues which are likely to arise during the course of their duties.

“Following Mr Reynolds’ death a review of our first aid training took place and changes were implemented.  We continue to keep this under review."

Following the inquest, Ms Bennett described her partner as "a loving man and a doting father". 

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