A wall of silence surrounds a senior police officer who has remained at home for over 30 months ... but still picks up an annual salary in excess of £104,000.
Despite misconduct allegations hanging over Central Scotland Police Assistant Chief Constable John Mauger following allegations he was openly critical of his boss, he continues on extended leave with no decision taken on his future.
Instead, he remains at his London home on so-called ‘gardening leave’ while other officers carry out his duties.
Attempts by The Falkirk Herald to question those involved have failed to come up with answers.
Members of the Central Scotland Joint Police Board have been warned that the matter is confidential and must only be discussed behind closed doors.
The force has said it is a matter for the board, while the Scottish Government has refused to get involved. Its spokesperson said: “This is an internal disciplinary matter.”
Although Mr Mauger has always declined to comment, a source close to him this week said: “This is a waste of public money and so far, no-one has been taken to task.”
He added that with Central Scotland Police ceasing to exist on April 1 when the Police Service of Scotland comes into being, it seemed there were those who hope John Mauger will disappear with it.
However, a spokesperson for the new police service confirmed: “All officers and staff are entitled to transfer into the new service. Anyone who is suspended/on leave at the time of transfer will remain so after April 1.”
The ACC had arrived in Central Scotland in 2009 with over 25 years’ experience of working in the Metropolitan Police and Essex Constabulary. However, within months the force’s No.3 is said to have spoken out against Chief Constable Kevin Smith.
Eventually the chief took his concerns to the Joint Police Board and, just 14 months after starting, Mr Mauger was place on extended leave and an investigation launched into the allegations.
The force has always been keen to stress the ACC is not suspended.
Grampian chief constable Coln McKerracher was called in to lead a five-month investigation into the claims, costing tens of thousands of taxpayers’ money.
It was completed in March 2011 and presented to the Joint Police Board shortly after. But, despite almost two years elapsing, there has been no outcome on the case – although it is understood that there has been protracted discussions between the legal teams representing both sides.
Details of the report were obtained by The Falkirk Herald and suggested that, despite arriving in Central Scotland with the pedigree of a career cop, the new ACC was quickly found to be out of his depth.
It also labelled the high ranking officer as a liar who was aggressive to colleagues.
The Grampian report claims it found Mr Mauger lied that he had high security vetting to allow him to attend an international counter terrorism programme, acted in an oppressive manner towards lower ranks who were trying to help him, refused to wear proper police uniform, and cost the force £650,000 in potential funding for a youth justice project which had to be cancelled.
It also said Mr Mauger’s actions had a “negative consequence for the Scottish Police Service”, concluding there was a case for a misconduct hearing.
However, there is no indication whether this has ever taken place.
Much of what was claimed in the report has since been rubbished by those close to the ACC, alleging he encountered anti-English sentiments within some elements of the force.
The source said: “John had the experience for the job because he had run a London borough, which is bigger than many Scottish forces. He found a lot of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ stuff that makes other people look stupid.”
Strathclyde Police was called in to investigate how the information on the Mauger report became public. It is understood two further investigations by other forces have also either taken place or are still ongoing relating to this case.
A spokesman for Central Scotland Joint Police Board said: “While we recognise the public interest in this matter, we are unable to give any further details as we are bound to keep personal information confidential.
‘‘We will continue to follow the Regulations and Scottish Government guidance that deals with disciplinary matters.”