Five Essex Police officers attended the White Hart Inn in Grays and took 15 dolls following an anonymous complaint about their presence being a suspected hate crime.
Officers also questioned owner Benice Ryley at the pub on Sunday – and a Home Office source says even the Home Secretary Suella Braverman has taken the force to task.
The source told the Mail Online: ‘The Home Secretary’s views have now been made very plain to Essex Police so they’re under no illusions.
‘Police forces should not be getting involved in this kind of nonsense. It’s about tackling anti-social behaviour, stopping violence against women and girls, attending burglaries and catching criminals – not seizing dolls.’
The force said they received an allegation of a hate crime in February, which led to their attendance at the pub on April 4.
Mrs Ryley, 61, said police still have the dolls and they are unlikely to get them back until after her husband Chris, 65, returns from Turkey next month and is questioned.
She added: ‘The whole thing is totally mad. Since the gollies were taken and the story was in the newspapers, we have had so many people get in touch with myself and my husband to say we shouldn’t give up and should keep them on our shelf.
‘Over the last two days my customers keep singing “save the gollies” and they want us to get them back.
‘So we are having a sign prepared that will say “gollies are on display, so don’t come in if that offends you” and once that’s ready we’ll restore some more of the dolls to the shelf.
‘They are sentimentally very valuable. The last thing this pub is is racist, we hold Indian weddings here all the time and of course everyone is welcome.
‘I told the officers it was all ridiculous to send so many of them for such a small thing – as they were bagging the gollies up I said “don’t worry, they won’t resist arrest”.’
The golliwog first started appearing in children’s books in the 1800s and was created by cartoonist Florence Kate Upton.
The dolls became popular in the 1970s in the UK but more recently they are considered to be a racist caricature of black people.
The golliwog character was inspired by minstrel shows, where white actors would use ‘blackface’ and create a cartoonish black character who they would degrade and humiliate during the performance.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: ‘We are investigating an allegation of hate crime reported to us on February 24.
‘Essex Police have discussed the progression of this case with the Crown Prosecution Service.
‘On April 4 officers attended a location off Argent Street, Grays, and seized several items in connection with that investigation.
‘The investigation is ongoing so we will not be commenting further at this stage.
‘The force is proud of the work we do prevent crime, tackle offenders and build trust and confidence in all communities.’
The Home Office declined to comment.