By David Love A senior adviser to the Chief Constable of a Scottish police force is facing prosecution after allegedly circulating an e-mail criticising his boss.

Dr Paul Monaghan, head of planning and development at Northern Constabulary's Inverness headquarters, was set to face a disciplinary hearing last week.

However, it is understood he failed to turn up and has quit Northern Constabulary. A report has been sent to area procurator fiscal, Andrew Laing.

Mr Laing confirmed: "I can confirm that a report was received from Professional Standards of Northern Constabulary relating to Mr Monaghan and one other person. The matter has been investigated by the office of the area procurator fiscal and the matter has been reported to Crown Office.

"Persons have been charged in this case but I am not revealing the nature of the charges. Identification is not an issue. Proceedings are active."

Dr Monaghan was suspected of being involved in an e-mailed questionnaire to staff and police board members about the controversial internal review into cutting the eight Northern Constabulary policing division areas to three. Chief Constable Ian Latimer was criticised.

Dr Monaghan, 43, who lives with his partner in Contin, Ross-shire, was seconded to Highland Council last spring and was the local authority's acting performance manager. However, in July, police officers came to the chief executive's office at the council and escorted him from the building in Inverness. It is believed he was taken to cells and questioned for several hours by detectives.

Dr Monaghan was suspended by the force, which was still his official employer, but he could not continue to work in the council's HQ.

Mr Latimer was furious about the e-mail as it asked if he had lost the respect and support of his staff. It also questioned the effectiveness of senior managers and asked whether the Police Board should abandon the review.

Computer experts were called in to trace its origins and the focus of the inquiry switched to Dr Monaghan and an unnamed woman not employed by Northern Constabulary.

A police spokeswoman confirmed the suspension at the time, but yesterday she said: "We do not comment on internal staff matters."

But Dr Monaghan said: "I am very pleased and proud to have worked with operational police officers and staff of Northern Constabulary for six years. However, I am very disappointed with the way I have been treated by the force. Therefore I have chosen to resign and move on to pastures new. I am not aware of what criminal offence I am accused of committing."

He worked for Northern Constabulary for several years, playing a key role in formulating strategy for the force, notably on antisocial behaviour. He represented the force on the Highland Wellbeing Alliance.

It is the second time the force has come down hard on someone is suspected of being involved in leaking or criticising aspects of its force review. Last December, two civilian staff were accused of "spying" on senior police officers and suspended after an alleged security breach. Northern Constabulary's IT manager Gordon Gallacher, 55, and his deputy Paul Patience, 34, were escorted out of the headquarters a week before Christmas after another investigation by the professional standards unit.

It is understood they were suspected of hacking into confidential minutes of meetings about the review which began in 2006 as part of a project to examine the force's functions and staff levels. They were reinstated in February this year.