Scotland’s new chief constable is to live rent free in a Fife castle as part of his relocation package.
Phil Gormley, who earns around £212,000 a year, will stay at Tulliallan Castle in Kincardine for around six months.
Tulliallan is owned by the Scottish Government and the arrangements for Mr Gormley have been criticised by a Labour MSP as sending out the wrong signals to staff who are facing more cuts.
Graeme Pearson, a former senior police officer and ex-director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said: “At a time when budgets for policing are so very tight, I would have thought it proper for Mr Gormley to pay rent for his accommodation.
“The provision, in addition to what can only be described as a generous salary, sends out the wrong signals to his staff who are struggling to cope with the cuts imposed on them.”
Mr Gormley is the former deputy director of the National Crime Agency and ex-chief constable of Norfolk Police.
Tulliallan has been home to the Scottish Police College since the 1950s and has more than 400 en-suite rooms.
Residents can use a range of sports and leisure options including a swimming pool, sauna and steam room.
The police service has in the past faced calls to give up the castle.
But when asked about it last year, former Chief Constable Stephen House said: “This is a Scottish Government building. It is not ours to sell.”
A police source confirmed Mr Gormley would be living at the castle and would not be charged rent.
A spokesman for the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) said: “The public recruitment process for the chief constable was clear that, where applicable, a package of relocation assistance would be made available in line with police regulations.
“At the request of the SPA, Phil Gormley took up his post within just a month of being appointed.”
The spokesman said the chairman of the SPA had suggested Mr Gormley use the accommodation at Tulliallan on a temporary basis.
“Tulliallan is an existing part of the police estate and this arrangement will provide a considerable saving when compared with the cost of a short-term private-sector rental accommodation,” the spokesperson said.