Waste of cash as top cop sits at home

A TOP cop has been paid £50,000 to sit at home for the last SEVEN MONTHS.

John Mauger, the assistant chief constable of Central Scotland Police, is currently on “gardening leave” while complaints against him are investigated.

These are understood to include claims of insubordination and inefficiency.

However, the investigatory process has come under fire for being too slow.

There are also concerns that Mr Mauger remains in his London home on full pay while 34 of the force’s civilian staff are made redundant or take early retirement as part of a cost-cutting move.

Central Scotland Police has trimmed £1.7 million from next year’s budget, with the majority coming from staffing costs.

Mr Mauger was appointed as the force’s number three in February 2009 after a high-flying career with the Metropolitan and Essex Police.

He came to the Randolphfield HQ from a role as temporary Assistant Chief Constable at HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

However, it is believed that within a year there were already concerns and suggestions that he clashed with Chief Constable Kevin Smith, who himself had only joined the force five months before the new ACC.

Chief Superintendent Gordon Samson has been carrying out the ACC’s role since last July.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the convener of Central Scotland Joint Police Board confirmed that the investigation into a complaint against Mr Mauger was continuing.

Councillor George Matchett, a former senior officer with Central Scotland Police, said that it was being carried out by Grampian chief constable Colin McKerracher.

He said: “The inquiry is reaching the report stage which will hopefully be submitted to the board by March. Then whatever appropriate action is needed will be taken.”

But politicians are concerned about the time taken to carry out the inquiry – and the cost to the public purse.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “I am extremely concerned at the way this is being handled and have written to the chief constable asking what progress has been made with the investigation.

‘‘Allowing this senior officer to remain on gardening leave in the current economic climate is not a good use of public money.”

Cathy Peattie, Falkirk East MSP, said she was also concerned at the cost to taxpayers.

She said: “It is not acceptable that this has been hanging over this senior officer for so long and it should have been a priority to get this investigation carried out quickly.”

The Scottish Government refused to be drawn on the inquiry.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware that a senior officer is currently on leave from Central Scotland Police and interim management arrangements have been put in place. This is a matter for the Joint Police Board and it would not be appropriate for Scottish Ministers to comment further.”

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