Bill mounts up for top policeman on ‘gardening leave’

Assistant Chief Constable  John Mauger. ACC John Mauger.
Assistant Chief Constable John Mauger. ACC John Mauger.

A top cop has been paid almost £100,000 to sit at home for over a YEAR.

John Mauger, the assistant chief constable of Central Scotland Police, remains on “gardening leave” while the lengthy investigation of complaints against him takes place.

Now it appears officials are in talks with him and his legal team about reaching a settlement – which could cost the taxpayer even more money.

It comes as police forces and other public bodies are being urged to make stringent savings.

Mr Mauger is understood to have clashed with Chief Constable Kevin Smith amid claims of insubordination and inefficiency by the force’s second-in-command.

However, full details of the complaint have never been made public and those involved in the investigation have remained tight-lipped about what exactly the senior officer is accused of.

He had only been at Central Scotland for 18 months when he was removed from operational duties pending the disciplinary investigation.

He came to the force following a high-flying career with the Metropolitan and Essex Police.

However, an insider revealed that it wasn’t long before there were rumblings of disquiet about his manner and attitude.

Now there has been a call for a decision on his future to be made – and soon.

This week, the convener of Central Scotland Joint Police Board confirmed that there is still no solution.

Councillor George Matchett, a former senior officer with the force, said: “The board’s legal officials will be sitting down with Mr Mauger and his solicitor in an attempt to find a way forward.”

The original investigation was carried out by Grampian chief constable Colin McKerracher, who filed a report to the board earlier this year. Members, who represent Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils, met in private last month to be given an update on the situation.

Mr Mauger, who has remained at his family’s London home for the last year, joined Central Scotland in February 2009 from a role as temporary assistant chief constable at HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

It is understood he was given a glowing reference from the organisation which monitors police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The insider said: “On paper his record was first-class.”

Although members of the police board were unwilling to discuss the case, Councillor David Alexander, who has been a substitute SNP member, said: “The board faces a difficult situation but we believe they should be mindful of the times we are living in and the public purse should come first.”

Central Scotland Police said: “It would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government refused to be drawn on the inquiry or the drain on public funds.

A spokesman said: “This is entirely a matter for Central Scotland Police force and the Joint Police Board. Police forces in Scotland remain operationally independent of ministers and scrutiny of their work is the responsibility of the elected members on the police authorities.”