Brian the horse at centre of naming controversy

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Brian is being put through his paces as a potential Thames Valley police recruit. Photo: Thames Valley Police/Facebook
Brian is being put through his paces as a potential Thames Valley police recruit. Photo: Thames Valley Police/Facebook

Britain’s Thames Valley Police are proud of the progress young Brian is making as a trainee police recruit, but they unwittingly unleashed a storm by revealing that his name might be changed.

Brian is being put through his paces to see if he has the ability to join the ranks of the mounted section.

Brian, a six-year-old Shire-Friesian cross, passed his medical exam on February 5, and has been on trial with the police since.

A decision will made on his future at the end of his six-week trial. So far, so good.

“He is certainly on his way and so far he has not given us any reason to doubt him, but it is very early days,” said Constable Kirsty Wilson, of the mounted section.

However, Brian is already at the centre of a policing controversy. A police spokeswoman said that the mounted section tended to give their horses “god or war-related names”. They sport names such as as Odin, Thor or Hercules.

It was anticipated that Brian, if accepted for active duty, would be given a name that fits the theme, it was revealed.

The BBC latched on to the story, reporting “outrage” among men named Brian.

“I think it’s outrageous. Brian is a good name for a horse,” Brian Lewis, from Ascot, was reported as saying.

Thames Valley Police acknowledged the fuss. “We’ve heard Brians around the nation are outraged,” it reported on its Facebook page,  which has more than 32,000 followers. “So should ‎Brian‬ keep his name? Let us know!”

At the time of writing, people posting on the page were united in the view that Brian should keep his name.

Sue Reffitt commented: “I would be proud to have the same name as such a handsome fellow. So outraged Brians around the country be proud.”

Juliet Reynolds said: “Keep it! He’s gorgeous!”

Pippa Ogier declared: “Keep his name, why the heck change it? Nothing wrong with a (police) horse called Brian.”

Deborah Kempton Wood said: “I have a budgie called Brian…, oh, and a husband. It’s a great name!”

Even the Surrey Police chimed in on the debate, seeming to suggest skills were much more important than the name. They noted that the 2014 National Police Dog Trial was won by one its canines – Ethel.

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