BOMB disposal expert Paul Burston is warning others about applying to the Metropolitan Police after his dreams were shattered days after being offered a job.
For the past year, the 45-year-old and his family have been searching for answers as to why his application to be an explosives ordinance disposal officer in the Metropolitan Police was scrapped – less than a week after being verbally offered the role following an interview.
The Captain in the Royal Logistics Corp’s bomb disposal unit, who has received a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery during his service, applied for the job in January last year.
The father-of-three said: “It’s basically the same job as I am doing now, just with the police.
“For me, especially with the children getting older, it’s a dream job as it would mean I wouldn’t be away as much as I am in the army.”
When Paul sent in his application, he declared one conviction of actual bodily harm, which he acquired in 1986 following a fight between two groups of people and was sentenced to two years conditional discharge.
Shortly after applying to the Metropolitan Police, Paul received a letter saying his application has been rejected.
He said: “I was informed it was because I had failed to disclose something and so I read the application again and in the small print it said that I had to list all my dealings with the police.
“Obviously I had already listed my conviction, so I thought it must be something else.”
Paul wrote an appeal, listing every encounter with the police he could remember. He also sent off for a PNC (Police National Computer) check to find out what information the Metropolitan Police had on his record. But when the results came through, nothing but his criminal conviction of ABH was listed.
Paul said: “I rang them again to get clarification about what exactly I had failed to disclose, since that was all the information they had on me. They said I had been given the wrong information and my application was rejected because of my conviction, which I had disclosed.”
Paul then wrote another appeal providing mitigating circumstances to his conviction, and on March 20, 2013, he received a letter confirming his appeal had been accepted. His application progressed, and he was offered a job after an interview on April 22.
But on April 29, Paul, who already holds Developed Vetting status for his role in the army, was told his application had been terminated on the grounds that he could not pass security clearance.
He said: “I was devastated and completely confused. They talked about not being able to go further in the recruitment process, but they had already offered me the job.
“It was also going to be deeply embarrassing because I already held the highest level of security clearance possible for my current job, and I was going to have to tell my bosses in the army that someone was doubting my integrity.”
Paul continued to ask the recruitment team for a clearer explanation until they sent their last email on July 1, 2013. It read: “The recruitment process follows vetting policy, therefore the correct procedures were followed when making a decision to terminate your application before any security forms were sent in writing.
“I cannot comment on any verbal offer of employment as this was not implied by our recruitment teams.”
Since that day, Paul has heard nothing more from the recruitment team but is still at a loss as to the reasons why this happened.
In a statement, a spokesman from the Metropolitan Police said: “Applicants to all posts in the MPS are informed of the rigorous vetting procedures we undertake.
“In our eyes providing all information relevant to the application is a clear integrity test and non-negotiable. Candidates who apply to the MPS have a right to appeal if unsuccessful.”