West Midlands Police denies new recruit was allowed to bring 'pet snail' into work to deal with stress

West Midlands Police has refuted allegations in the national media that a new recruit was allowed to bring his pet snail into work to help with anxiety.

The snail, reportedly nicknamed Sid by officers at Bournville Police Station, was kept in a box at the station, according to several national media reports.

Shocked officers were told pets were allowed at work through a new "wellness" policy to help new recruits through training.

However, West Midlands Police told the Express & Star the force carried out "several enquiries into this rumour earlier in the year but were unable to find any evidence that it was true".

The story of Sid the snail did reignite an argument that new police recruits are not being toughened up for a job dealing with criminals on a daily basis.

Quoted in the Daily Mirror, Former Metropolitan Police Det Ch Insp Peter Kirkham, 61, complained: “There is no place for pet snails in police stations or even blankets for that matter – unless the blanket is for a prisoner in a cell.

“The bottom line is, policing is not for everyone – and that needs to be recognised. We don’t want to go back to the dark ages, but we need to get the balance right between caring for officers and recruiting officers capable of doing the job. That doesn’t appear to be the case here.”

One former West Midlands Police detective, who left the force after 25 years, said: "I worry criminals will run rings around officers now, if a new recruit has to stroke his snail before going on duty will he have the strength to kick a drug dealer's door open?

"As a police officer you get spat at, sworn at and assaulted, it takes a special kind of person to walk into trouble when most can walk away and because of that new recruits must be prepared properly."

Last year West Midlands Police hit the headlines by advertising for an “assistant director of fairness and belonging” and an “assistant director of talent and organisational effectiveness” with £74,000 salaries, double that of a police officer.

Outgoing West Midlands Police Chief Constable Sir David Thompson has spoken of the difficulty of the job.

He said: “Recruits come from all walks of life and the reality of policing can be daunting for some, therefore our training programme is rigorous and thorough to ensure student officers are equipped to deal with each new challenge.

“For a small number, the role may not be what they had imagined. Some will resign before completion of training or we will agree perhaps this isn’t the role for them.”

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