Bomb disposal expert confused by job rejection

This Is Wiltshire: The Burston family, from left, Charlie, Hannah, Alison, Paul and Jake The Burston family, from left, Charlie, Hannah, Alison, Paul and Jake

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.”

Comments (26)

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6:48am Mon 4 Aug 14

Wigmeister says...

There are a lot of people who apply for their "dream" job and miss out. Welcome to the real world Paul.
There are a lot of people who apply for their "dream" job and miss out. Welcome to the real world Paul. Wigmeister
  • Score: 29

8:55am Mon 4 Aug 14

EastleazeRed says...

Yeah ! Can't understand why he went to the newspaper because he didn't get the job , maybe he's after a bit of sympathy? happens to a lot of people mate .
Yeah ! Can't understand why he went to the newspaper because he didn't get the job , maybe he's after a bit of sympathy? happens to a lot of people mate . EastleazeRed
  • Score: 11

9:05am Mon 4 Aug 14

Davey Gravey says...

Jeez, I'm sure almost everyone has had a verbal agreement broken at one time or another. Hardly worthy of newspaper news is it?
Jeez, I'm sure almost everyone has had a verbal agreement broken at one time or another. Hardly worthy of newspaper news is it? Davey Gravey
  • Score: 12

9:15am Mon 4 Aug 14

Al Smith says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Jeez, I'm sure almost everyone has had a verbal agreement broken at one time or another. Hardly worthy of newspaper news is it?
I suspect he might have been told something along the lines of "we'll recommend you for the job" that's certainly what I was told last time I had a phone call informing me I'd "got" a job. It wasn't until HR sent me the formal letter confirming the appointment that I officially had the job (I guess references etc. needed to be checked).
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Jeez, I'm sure almost everyone has had a verbal agreement broken at one time or another. Hardly worthy of newspaper news is it?[/p][/quote]I suspect he might have been told something along the lines of "we'll recommend you for the job" that's certainly what I was told last time I had a phone call informing me I'd "got" a job. It wasn't until HR sent me the formal letter confirming the appointment that I officially had the job (I guess references etc. needed to be checked). Al Smith
  • Score: 5

9:38am Mon 4 Aug 14

joanne960 says...

Wigmeister wrote:
There are a lot of people who apply for their "dream" job and miss out. Welcome to the real world Paul.
The real world! Do you even know what this guy has done for the past 24 years for his country. Risked his life so yeah I think he should be pretty anoid at missing out after years if sacrifice and to his family. I think hes seen the "Real World" more times over than he would like to recall.
[quote][p][bold]Wigmeister[/bold] wrote: There are a lot of people who apply for their "dream" job and miss out. Welcome to the real world Paul.[/p][/quote]The real world! Do you even know what this guy has done for the past 24 years for his country. Risked his life so yeah I think he should be pretty anoid at missing out after years if sacrifice and to his family. I think hes seen the "Real World" more times over than he would like to recall. joanne960
  • Score: 27

10:06am Mon 4 Aug 14

benzss says...

joanne960 wrote:
Wigmeister wrote:
There are a lot of people who apply for their "dream" job and miss out. Welcome to the real world Paul.
The real world! Do you even know what this guy has done for the past 24 years for his country. Risked his life so yeah I think he should be pretty anoid at missing out after years if sacrifice and to his family. I think hes seen the "Real World" more times over than he would like to recall.
If you are anoid, you should probably get it checked out by a medical professional.
[quote][p][bold]joanne960[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Wigmeister[/bold] wrote: There are a lot of people who apply for their "dream" job and miss out. Welcome to the real world Paul.[/p][/quote]The real world! Do you even know what this guy has done for the past 24 years for his country. Risked his life so yeah I think he should be pretty anoid at missing out after years if sacrifice and to his family. I think hes seen the "Real World" more times over than he would like to recall.[/p][/quote]If you are anoid, you should probably get it checked out by a medical professional. benzss
  • Score: 13

10:23am Mon 4 Aug 14

mrwoo says...

DV clearance is incredibly intrusive and thorough and having obtained that, should be no issue getting police clearance. The ABH is a spent conviction, I have one myself from the same era.
DV clearance is incredibly intrusive and thorough and having obtained that, should be no issue getting police clearance. The ABH is a spent conviction, I have one myself from the same era. mrwoo
  • Score: 8

10:35am Mon 4 Aug 14

Chrisg46 says...

Defusing bombs and IEDS for twenty odd years is a real-ler job than most. It is hard to think of a reason why he would have DV with the army, but that not be enough for the police.
I might be wrong, but failing security with a new job might affect his old one too....
Defusing bombs and IEDS for twenty odd years is a real-ler job than most. It is hard to think of a reason why he would have DV with the army, but that not be enough for the police. I might be wrong, but failing security with a new job might affect his old one too.... Chrisg46
  • Score: 10

10:38am Mon 4 Aug 14

SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURING says...

Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble.
Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble. SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURING
  • Score: -33

11:26am Mon 4 Aug 14

The Witch says...

SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURIN
G
wrote:
Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble.
You idiot, I guess what ever job you do does not involve the possibility of having to lose your life or be badly maimed for your country.

I have known of one person who had been in trouble with the police in their youth but still managed to join the police some years later.
[quote][p][bold]SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURIN G[/bold] wrote: Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble.[/p][/quote]You idiot, I guess what ever job you do does not involve the possibility of having to lose your life or be badly maimed for your country. I have known of one person who had been in trouble with the police in their youth but still managed to join the police some years later. The Witch
  • Score: 26

11:49am Mon 4 Aug 14

Chrisg46 says...

SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURIN
G
wrote:
Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble.
Idiot.
[quote][p][bold]SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURIN G[/bold] wrote: Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble.[/p][/quote]Idiot. Chrisg46
  • Score: 18

12:21pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Rubbercement says...

Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate!
Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate! Rubbercement
  • Score: 23

12:59pm Mon 4 Aug 14

back_to_reality says...

Good to see that the vetting procedures are effective and that convicted criminals are not being selected for the police. He applied for a job and didn't make it. Happens to us all at some point. Get over it mate.
Good to see that the vetting procedures are effective and that convicted criminals are not being selected for the police. He applied for a job and didn't make it. Happens to us all at some point. Get over it mate. back_to_reality
  • Score: 12

1:17pm Mon 4 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

Rubbercement wrote:
Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate!
Agree with your comments about respect for the man but not sure why you think anyone should be a special case and bypass the checks that others have to go through, maybe you don't believe in equality for all? It would have made him a strong candidate I am sure, but no one should get special treatment.
[quote][p][bold]Rubbercement[/bold] wrote: Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate![/p][/quote]Agree with your comments about respect for the man but not sure why you think anyone should be a special case and bypass the checks that others have to go through, maybe you don't believe in equality for all? It would have made him a strong candidate I am sure, but no one should get special treatment. house on the hill
  • Score: 4

1:44pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Chrisg46 says...

house on the hill wrote:
Rubbercement wrote:
Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate!
Agree with your comments about respect for the man but not sure why you think anyone should be a special case and bypass the checks that others have to go through, maybe you don't believe in equality for all? It would have made him a strong candidate I am sure, but no one should get special treatment.
Yes & no - I don't believe that soldiers should get preferential treatment just because of their service but his is such a specialized role i am surprised he was not simply just transferred - There are very very few such anti-IED operators in the UK.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rubbercement[/bold] wrote: Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate![/p][/quote]Agree with your comments about respect for the man but not sure why you think anyone should be a special case and bypass the checks that others have to go through, maybe you don't believe in equality for all? It would have made him a strong candidate I am sure, but no one should get special treatment.[/p][/quote]Yes & no - I don't believe that soldiers should get preferential treatment just because of their service but his is such a specialized role i am surprised he was not simply just transferred - There are very very few such anti-IED operators in the UK. Chrisg46
  • Score: 5

4:11pm Mon 4 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

Chrisg46 wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
Rubbercement wrote:
Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate!
Agree with your comments about respect for the man but not sure why you think anyone should be a special case and bypass the checks that others have to go through, maybe you don't believe in equality for all? It would have made him a strong candidate I am sure, but no one should get special treatment.
Yes & no - I don't believe that soldiers should get preferential treatment just because of their service but his is such a specialized role i am surprised he was not simply just transferred - There are very very few such anti-IED operators in the UK.
I guess we also have to respect the Police force's judgement and right to refuse anyone, as you say he would appear to be over qualified, so their will be more to this than meets the eye no doubt
[quote][p][bold]Chrisg46[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rubbercement[/bold] wrote: Some idiot comments I see. Why Paul went to the paper is his own business. But you should have the upmost respect for a man who's job is diffusing bombs! I certainly do. He has a wife and children and was away from home more often than not, so fair play to him for trying to be near his family and, in my opinion going for a job that pretty much should have been handed to him on a plate![/p][/quote]Agree with your comments about respect for the man but not sure why you think anyone should be a special case and bypass the checks that others have to go through, maybe you don't believe in equality for all? It would have made him a strong candidate I am sure, but no one should get special treatment.[/p][/quote]Yes & no - I don't believe that soldiers should get preferential treatment just because of their service but his is such a specialized role i am surprised he was not simply just transferred - There are very very few such anti-IED operators in the UK.[/p][/quote]I guess we also have to respect the Police force's judgement and right to refuse anyone, as you say he would appear to be over qualified, so their will be more to this than meets the eye no doubt house on the hill
  • Score: 2

5:26pm Mon 4 Aug 14

sprouty70 says...

Should have joined the Masons first, he'd have the job now and we wouldn't have to read this embarrassing non story. Everyones a winner!
Should have joined the Masons first, he'd have the job now and we wouldn't have to read this embarrassing non story. Everyones a winner! sprouty70
  • Score: -3

5:53pm Mon 4 Aug 14

umpcah says...

Surely no potential employer is obliged to explain why a candidate fails to get the job ?
Surely no potential employer is obliged to explain why a candidate fails to get the job ? umpcah
  • Score: -1

9:22pm Mon 4 Aug 14

SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURING says...

The Witch wrote:
SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURIN

G
wrote:
Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble.
You idiot, I guess what ever job you do does not involve the possibility of having to lose your life or be badly maimed for your country.

I have known of one person who had been in trouble with the police in their youth but still managed to join the police some years later.
Their choice of career.

They are not getting called up like WW1.
[quote][p][bold]The Witch[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURIN G[/bold] wrote: Most people in the military do not live in real world but a cosy little bubble.[/p][/quote]You idiot, I guess what ever job you do does not involve the possibility of having to lose your life or be badly maimed for your country. I have known of one person who had been in trouble with the police in their youth but still managed to join the police some years later.[/p][/quote]Their choice of career. They are not getting called up like WW1. SAVE_UK_MANUFACTURING
  • Score: -2

9:48pm Mon 4 Aug 14

STFCTID says...

Its fairly simple... DV is applied to the job you do with differing requirements for each position.
An ABH conviction may not preclude you from the Army job but might for the Police job, and just to be clear - before anyone starts on me I am ex soldier who is also DV cleared, the process is well explained to all that go through it and clearance is never guaranteed by the vetting agencies.
A complete non story.
Its fairly simple... DV is applied to the job you do with differing requirements for each position. An ABH conviction may not preclude you from the Army job but might for the Police job, and just to be clear - before anyone starts on me I am ex soldier who is also DV cleared, the process is well explained to all that go through it and clearance is never guaranteed by the vetting agencies. A complete non story. STFCTID
  • Score: 0

10:01pm Mon 4 Aug 14

timt1964 says...

"man confused by job rejection" if hes confused by that then hows he going to defuse bombs?! typical adver story............per
son hard done by,contacts newspaper,plays on fact hes an ex "hero",gets pictured with his kids.should have got them to fold their arms,may have worked.
"man confused by job rejection" if hes confused by that then hows he going to defuse bombs?! typical adver story............per son hard done by,contacts newspaper,plays on fact hes an ex "hero",gets pictured with his kids.should have got them to fold their arms,may have worked. timt1964
  • Score: 0

10:01pm Mon 4 Aug 14

burstona says...

Fact - served 24years and still serving no problems with previous vetting

Fact - appeal accepted with senior member of vetting team on appeals pannell

Fact - only then was he called forward interview and offered job

Fact - Swindon MP supported our action to search for answers and helped by sending official letters to Head of HR Met Police on two occasions. On both occasions MP was ignored.

Fact - MP forwards letter to Police Commissioner

Fact - Head of HR finally responds a number of months later making out that House of Commons headed letter went missing somewhere. Head of HR makes out Poul has been dishonest which is a lie.

Fact - MP forwards letter to Theresa May (Home Office)

Fact - Rt Hon Damien Greene ( demoted after re shuffle) replies stating that The Home Office can not comment on the way The Met run their HR Dept.

Fact - Poul was totally honest about all matters involving the police before during and after this job application and this was before he was called for interview.

Fact - There have been telephone conversations in between the file of paperwork collected throughout including conversations with Vetting, Applications and Appeals ALL contradicting each other.

Now you are all very much entitled to you're opinion and I for one agree that there should be no preferential treatment for any soldier. However this is not a dig for sympathy or an act of preferential treatment. This is somebody standing up for justice.

I pray to God they never bring back national service and I pray to God that some of you and yours don't ever find yourself in this situation.
Fact - served 24years and still serving no problems with previous vetting Fact - appeal accepted with senior member of vetting team on appeals pannell Fact - only then was he called forward interview and offered job Fact - Swindon MP supported our action to search for answers and helped by sending official letters to Head of HR Met Police on two occasions. On both occasions MP was ignored. Fact - MP forwards letter to Police Commissioner Fact - Head of HR finally responds a number of months later making out that House of Commons headed letter went missing somewhere. Head of HR makes out Poul has been dishonest which is a lie. Fact - MP forwards letter to Theresa May (Home Office) Fact - Rt Hon Damien Greene ( demoted after re shuffle) replies stating that The Home Office can not comment on the way The Met run their HR Dept. Fact - Poul was totally honest about all matters involving the police before during and after this job application and this was before he was called for interview. Fact - There have been telephone conversations in between the file of paperwork collected throughout including conversations with Vetting, Applications and Appeals ALL contradicting each other. Now you are all very much entitled to you're opinion and I for one agree that there should be no preferential treatment for any soldier. However this is not a dig for sympathy or an act of preferential treatment. This is somebody standing up for justice. I pray to God they never bring back national service and I pray to God that some of you and yours don't ever find yourself in this situation. burstona
  • Score: 2

10:05pm Mon 4 Aug 14

burstona says...

My lights are out Are yours???
My lights are out Are yours??? burstona
  • Score: 5

12:15am Tue 5 Aug 14

STFCTID says...

FACT - a decision was made and he didn't get the job.
FACT - No offer was made in writing so there are no contractual obligations on either side
FACT - Someone paid to make decisions has made one
FACT - It happens all the time to people who are not ex forces
FACT - Time served in the forces has no relevance to future employment
FACT - an appeal is just that, it doesn't mean you get anything, just that you get an appeal
FACT - MP's dont get a say in individual security issues

Its not standing up for justice...its a decision he doesnt like - FACT
FACT - a decision was made and he didn't get the job. FACT - No offer was made in writing so there are no contractual obligations on either side FACT - Someone paid to make decisions has made one FACT - It happens all the time to people who are not ex forces FACT - Time served in the forces has no relevance to future employment FACT - an appeal is just that, it doesn't mean you get anything, just that you get an appeal FACT - MP's dont get a say in individual security issues Its not standing up for justice...its a decision he doesnt like - FACT STFCTID
  • Score: 6

8:29am Tue 5 Aug 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

Do we want to fund the salary of ex convicts? I certainly hope not!
Do we want to fund the salary of ex convicts? I certainly hope not! A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -3

9:25pm Thu 7 Aug 14

MishyG says...

I feel the need to point out that the heading of the story is "Bomb disposal expert CONFUSED by decision". Those that see fit to comment on his ability to diffuse bombs should be ashamed. It would be interesting to see what they have done for their country.........or community........ or even themselves!!! Everyone should be able to learn the truth when left high and dry! After 24 years of devoted service, doing without question ( inc op tours ), with support of family, having to support without question, should anyone be hammering this person for wanting to pursue a job that still serves the country but allows them a little bit more precious time. Never, should any soldiers integrity be questioned. And to refer to him as a "criminal" is just absurd and wrong. Such people are obviously saints..... They obviously just want an answer as to why they have been deprived so late on in the process and why this wasn't picked up earlier. Such people that leave these derogatory comments will be the first to fall of their sofas in disgust when peadophile or rapist isn't picked up. The system or process is flawed and this family are highlighting it. Very brave and maybe if we all got off our soapbox instead of judging, the world will be a better place......! Try reading John 8:7 - let him who is without sin, cast the first stone...........!
I feel the need to point out that the heading of the story is "Bomb disposal expert CONFUSED by decision". Those that see fit to comment on his ability to diffuse bombs should be ashamed. It would be interesting to see what they have done for their country.........or community........ or even themselves!!! Everyone should be able to learn the truth when left high and dry! After 24 years of devoted service, doing without question ( inc op tours ), with support of family, having to support without question, should anyone be hammering this person for wanting to pursue a job that still serves the country but allows them a little bit more precious time. Never, should any soldiers integrity be questioned. And to refer to him as a "criminal" is just absurd and wrong. Such people are obviously saints..... They obviously just want an answer as to why they have been deprived so late on in the process and why this wasn't picked up earlier. Such people that leave these derogatory comments will be the first to fall of their sofas in disgust when peadophile or rapist isn't picked up. The system or process is flawed and this family are highlighting it. Very brave and maybe if we all got off our soapbox instead of judging, the world will be a better place......! Try reading John 8:7 - let him who is without sin, cast the first stone...........! MishyG
  • Score: 1

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