THE cost of a failed investigation into a Cleveland Police sergeant – which was dropped after it emerged a detective had been threatened with disciplinary action unless he gave evidence – has cost the taxpayer at least £240,000, it emerged last night.

Sergeant Waseem Khan, who was based at Middlesbrough Police Station, was suspended on full pay for three years and nine months, at a cost to the taxpayer of about £150,000, plus pension benefits of about £10,000 a year on top.

Cleveland Police last night revealed that legal costs and room hire for his misconduct hearing had run to £90,000.

However, The Northern Echo understands that the full costs of the long-running investigation into Sgt Khan – which raised “serious concerns” as the case against him collapsed earlier this week – could stretch to at least another £100,000 more.

There have been at least two barristers involved in the case on behalf of Cleveland Police since papers were first served on Sgt Khan in September 2012 and numerous hearings at police headquarters.

On top of that, many hours of police manpower had been tied up pursuing the case.

Two matters of misconduct were brought to a hearing last week, but Cleveland Police dropped its case against Sgt Khan after evidence was given by Detective Constable Evan Kirtley.

DC Kirtley admitted that he had been warned by a superior officer in the professional standards department that he had to make a statement against Sgt Khan, or be served with discipline papers himself.

The former chairman of Cleveland Police Federation Steve Matthews, who represented Sgt Khan when he was first suspended, said last night: “What a complete waste of money it was.

“Do the public of Cleveland want to pay to have a highly qualified police sergeant sitting at home, on £50,000 a year with pension benefits, with his feet up? Of course they don’t, they want him out there, policing.”

The Northern Echo has learned that as well as the two matters which reached the hearing, a further four matters of misconduct were listed against Sgt Khan.

However, these have also now also been dropped after the chairman of the misconduct was highly critical of the force earlier this week.

He said Sgt Khan’s conduct “fell well short of misconduct” and that the matters of concern should have been dealt with by management.

The chairman, Craig Hassall, said at the hearing: “We are left deeply concerned about how the investigation has been conducted.”

He also criticised the force’s failure to keep proper policy logs of investigation into serious allegations in the force, and said there was a “lax approach” when it came to disclosing some of the evidence to the panel.

“The effect on fairness by this has been extreme,” he said.

“We had numerous concerns about the quality of the investigation and the conduct of the proceedings once they were instigated.”

He added that he thought that some of Sergeant Khan’s conduct had raised some questions – but that it should have been dealt with by “management advice” and “fell far short of misconduct”.

Cleveland Police did not add any further comment last night.