Essex

Cat and Chihuahua gifts for Essex Police

Cat, feather duster and Chihuahua Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption A number of bizarre gifts have been given to Essex police by people grateful for officers' assistance

A live black and white cat, two Chihuahua harnesses and a feather duster are among the gifts given to a police force by the public.

Essex Police's public financial records also list "a brace of pheasants" and washing-up liquid among donations.

The force said, while it was "flattering", all gifts were recorded and many donated to charities.

It is not known what happened to the cat, but the force confirmed it does not use Chihuahuas in its dog unit.

The records cover gratuities and hospitality gifts given to the force over the past four years.

"We don't encourage it, but neither do we want to cause offence by refusing gifts," a police spokesman said.

'Completely stumped'

While gifts included more than 100 of bottles of wine and numerous boxes of chocolates and bunches of flowers, some of the more bizarre gifts remain a mystery to Steve Taylor, from the Essex Police Federation.

"No-one's ever offered me two Chihuahua harnesses, but what a fantastic gift," he said.

"You'd be completely stumped by a gift like that."

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption One victim of crime offered to "analyse" an officer's feet for free

It is not known whether officers were allowed to keep smaller gifts such as a bottle of chilli sauce, an anti-fog cloth for spectacles and fridge magnets from Slovakia.

Nor is it known whether an officer took up the offer of a personalised foot analysis session.

However, Mr Taylor said: "There are very strict rules. We must never accept anything that calls into question our impartiality.

"At the same time we have to balance the need not to be rude. In some cultures it's deeply insulting to return a gift."

The force spokesman added: "We provide clear advice to officers and ensure they know how to correctly record all offers, regardless of whether they are accepted or declined. We also donate items to charity."

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