Half million locked up in probe kitty

Assistant Chief Constable  John Mauger
Assistant Chief Constable John Mauger

Police bosses set aside £500,000 of public money to foot the bill for an investigation into a senior officer.

Almost three years after Assistant Chief Constable John Mauger was placed on ‘gardening leave’ from the then Central Scotland Police he still remains at home on full pay.

It followed an alleged fall-out with Chief Constable Kevin Smith after Mr Mauger was supposed to have criticised the force’s No.1 to other officers.

Despite repeated attempts by The Falkirk Herald to talk to those involved, a wall of silence surrounds the inquiry and subsequent attempts to reach a conclusion.

It is understood that legal teams from both sides have been locked in discussions for more than 18 months but no agreement has been reached.

However, a Freedom of Information request to Central Scotland Police, made last month shortly before it ceased to exist, has revealed just how much public cash the former Joint Police Board had set aside to deal with the financial costs involved in Mr Mauger’s case.

A response from Forth Valley Division of Police Scotland, the country’s new single force, admitted that in the last published accounts for 2011/12 under “management issue”, £500,000 was earmarked to deal with any costs, including legal fees and the investigation into the events around the ACC being removed from normal duties.

It has always been stressed Mr Mauger is not suspended.

Mr Mauger was placed on “gardening leave” on June 30, 2010, just 14 months after taking on the role as the force’s third-in-command and four months after he had been placed on restricted duties.

An inquiry into the allegations was carried out by Chief Constable Colin McKerracher of Grampian Police and it was presented to board members in 2011.

Mr Mauger has always declined to comment, but a source close to him previously said: “This is a waste of public money and so far, no-one has been taken to task.”

The new Scottish Police Authority (SPA) assumed many of the responsibilities, functions and liabilities related to existing complaints, conduct and misconduct matters.

This week a spokeswoman said: “We have inherited a number of active complaint cases that were in process through the previous joint police boards.

“Complaints are confidential and as such no commentary or response will be given on individual cases.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said it had no jurisdiction over 
the SPA and could not comment.