Former Met Police officer shoots himself with gun taken from new job after inaccurate DBS check
A former Metropolitan Police officer shot himself dead with a gun from his new job after a past conviction for a violent crime was left off his criminal record, an inquest has heard.
Michael Roberts, 50, was sacked as a police officer after he was convicted and jailed, but he then managed to secure a job at the UK’s gun regulator, testing new firearms at Proof House in London.
Given direct access to guns, Roberts took one of the weapons home from work and used it to shoot himself in the head on August 20 last year, an inquest at St Pancras coroner’s court was told as his death was ruled as suicide.
It has now emerged that his new employers at Proof House – the home of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers - were wrongly told Roberts had no convictions or cautions on his record during a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in the hiring process.
Coroner Mary Hassell has now written to Scotland Yard and the DBS, highlighting the critical failure that led to the fatal shooting.
“Mr Roberts shot himself on the evening of Saturday, 20 August 2022, using a gun he took from his place of work. He did not own any guns”, she set out in her Prevention of Future Deaths report.
“He was alone and made no attempt to shoot any other person. However, he had suggested to his partner that he could kill her.”
Ms Hassell, the senior coroner for Inner North London, raised concerns of future deaths if action is not taken.
“Before he was employed as a proof assistant testing new guns, Mr Roberts’ prospective employer asked for a DBS certificate. This was provided and recorded no convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings”, she said.
“However, Mr Roberts had in the past been convicted of a violent offence for which he had received a custodial sentence. This was the reason for his dismissal from his former occupation as a police officer in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
“If Mr Roberts’ DBS certificate had correctly recorded his conviction, he would not have been employed at Proof House where he had access to firearms.
“It is unclear to me whether the inaccuracy of the DBS certificate was caused by an error made by the DBS or by the MPS.”
The Met and the DBS have been given 56 days to provide a written response to the coroner’s concerns.
Roberts’ name does not come up in a search of the police Barring List. The College of Policing refuses to publish the list of banned former officers in full, citing privacy concerns, and only permits online searches by name.
A DBS spokesperson said it cannot comment on individual cases “for legal reasons” but is “cooperating fully with the Coroner and is in the process of providing an official response in accordance with the Coroner’s request.”
The service said government policy and legislation dictate what is included on a DBS certificate, and a certificate “does not confirm that there are no cautions or convictions on a person’s record.”
“For example, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, eligible convictions or cautions become ‘spent’ after a specified period of time and are not disclosed as part of a basic DBS check”, the spokesperson said.
“Similarly, standard, and enhanced certificates do not include matters that are filtered out by the Police Act 1997.”