Rookie cop allowed to keep pet snail at police station to calm his nerves

A police recruit was allowed to take a giant snail to work… to calm his nerves.

The 8in pet, nicknamed Sid by colleagues, was kept in a cardboard box with holes to allow air in.

Sources said some officers at the station privately objected.

But it is thought that no official complaint was made to West Midlands Police because cops had been briefed on an unofficial “wellness” policy designed to help new recruits get through training.

The rookie has now left the force – and Sid has died.

Insiders also said a female PC was allowed to cover her head with a blanket at her desk to relieve anxiety. A source revealed: “Many officers are appalled by what has become accepted. In my opinion, the calibre of new recruits is not what it once was and these coping strategies are being allowed to compensate for that.

“Policing is a tough job. This kind of mollycoddling doesn’t help to make good officers.”

Last year, the same force advertised for an “assistant director of fairness and belonging” and an “assistant director of talent and organisational effectiveness”.

Both jobs had salaries of around £74,000 – double the amount typically earned by a rank-and-file officer.

Former Metropolitan Police Det Ch Insp Peter Kirkham, 61, was left aghast by reports of the snail at Birmingham’s Bourneville police station.

He said: “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.”

West Midlands Police said it had been unable to verify claims about the snail.

Chief Constable Sir David Thompson said his officers faced “one of the busiest, most challenging areas of the country”.

He added: “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.”