Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Victoria police officer paid $600,000 for nothing

Ripping off compassionate provisions in the law

A VICTORIA Police officer has been paid $600,000 in salary and benefits despite not working for more than nine years. Sen-Constable Paul Warton has continued to draw a wage and benefits since being suspended from duty in September 2001 after being accused of bullying a fellow officer.

Sen-Constable Warton, who was based in Marysville, received a wage until this month, when he was suspended without pay. His case file has been with the police chief commissioner since 2002, but he has avoided appearing before a disciplinary hearing because of medical reasons. A police spokeswoman said Sen-Constable Warton's psychiatrist provided him with doctor's certificates.

The marathon break from work took in all but six months of Christine Nixon's tenure as chief commissioner. Four police ministers tackled the case without success.

The Herald Sun believes Sen-Constable Warton has also accrued annual leave in the period he has been suspended.

The spokeswoman said Sen-Constable Warton had recently been before the Police Medical Officer and "we are currently assessing a way forward''.

A police source said the case was ridiculous. "These guys get all the help in the world from the Police Association," the source said. "They are very hard for management to deal with. "The system is not working as it should."

Sen-Constable Warton was suspended after he allegedly intimidated another officer who had agreed to give information to investigators about Bairnsdale police strip-searching Aborigines in 2000.

In 2002, Ringwood Magistrates' Court heard the officer feared for his life while a passenger when Sen-Constable Warton reached speeds of 130km/h driving down dirt roads near Marysville.

Sen-Constable Warton was fined $500 without conviction for breaches of the Police Regulation Act and has not returned to work since.

The police spokeswoman said Sen-Constable Warton's suspension was the longest for a Victorian police officer. "Victoria Police has been unable to interview or speak to Sen-Constable Warton as his treating psychiatrist has consistently provided him with doctor's certificates," she said.

Police Association secretary Greg Davies said Sen-Constable Warton was entitled to support and had rights "like any other police officer". Sen-Constable Warton declined to comment.


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