Cow run over by police sparks industry debate

The cow was hit by a police vehicle after a number of methods to stop it had 'failed'

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Deputy chief constable Nev Kemp: "I am committed to ensuring that we have a full understanding of what took place and why, and we will fully support any investigation."
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Deputy chief constable Nev Kemp: "I am committed to ensuring that we have a full understanding of what took place and why, and we will fully support any investigation."

A police officer has been removed from frontline duties after running over a cow in Staines-upon-Thames.

Surrey Police said the cow had been hit by one of its vehicles on Friday evening (June 14) after escaping from a farm.

Following concerns the animal had damaged cars and was a 'threat' to members of the public on a main road, officers had made the decision to knock down the cow with a police vehicle.

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Farming figures have called for the police to create a contact list of farmers in the local area to help with escaped livestock after footage circulated of Surrey Police running over a calf which had escaped.

Additionally, a 'number of' animal charities have contacted Surrey Police while the Home Office has been briefed about the incident.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has called for a ‘full, urgent explanation'.

"It appears to be unnecessarily heavy handed."

Officers said the officer has been referred to its Professional Standards Department as well as the Independent Office for Police Conduct for further investigation.

Despite sustaining a large cut to its let, the cow has been returned to its owner where it is being monitored. 

The partner of the farmer who owns the cow told Sky News that the footage was horrific, adding it looked like the police had tried to kill it.

The RSPCA said it was ‘upsetting and distressing footage' and it had been in contact with the police as soon as it was made aware, and said it was ‘on hand' to advise and support to ensure similar incidents were avoided in future.

Welsh farmers Gareth Wyn Jones said: "Each police force should have a farming contact for these types of incidents."

He later posted a video of himself on the A55 helping police handle sheep which had escaped onto the road.

Ignorance

On X, BBC broadcaster John Simpson, said: "Is not there something a bit illogical about getting upset by a police car hitting a cow, then sitting down to enjoy a Sunday lunch of roast beef?"

Pig farmer Anna Longthorp, in Yorkshire, said it showed an ‘astounding level of ignorance'.

She compared it to comments made by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the pig crisis, which suggested culling healthy pigs on farm was no different to pigs going into the food supply chain.

"The farming community are extremely upset by the footage; personally I have watched once and cannot watch again, it is too distressing.

"The extreme vegans attacking farmers, using this disgraceful act of cruelty to drive their own agenda clearly shows they care little for the animal."

She also urged the police to build a network of farming contacts to call upon.

"I know the farming community would happily give their own time to help bring any distressed animal to safety."

Providing an assessment of the incident, chief inspector of Surrey Police Sam Adcock said the officer had been extremely concerned about the public's safety.

After a number of hours of unsuccessfully trying to capture the cow, along with attempts to call a veterinary service, the decision was made to run it over. 

Distress

"I know that this has caused distress and I would like to thank the community for their concern," Ms Adcock added.

"The decision to use the police car is one that was only taken after other methods to stop the cow had failed.

"There will be an investigation into the actions that led to this, but our focus at all times is on ensuring the safety of the public."

Deputy chief constable Nev Kemp said he would ensure the incident is 'thoroughly and diligently investigated'.

"At this time, the officer who was driving the police car has been removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of these investigations," he added.

"I know there is much concern around the current welfare of the cow. 

"She is now back with her owner and recuperating with her herd. She did sustain a large cut to one leg and cuts and grazes. 

"She continues to be monitored by a vet and our rural officers are staying in contact with the owner for updates.

"I can confirm that on the night, efforts were made to contact local vets without success and efforts were simultaneously being made to identify the owner. 

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"Why these were unsuccessful and what more could and should have been done will form a key part of the investigation.

"As well as our overriding duty to protect the public, the welfare of animals is important to us and we know people want answers about how this happened and what led up to it.

"I am committed to ensuring that we have a full understanding of what took place and why, and we will fully support any investigation.

"I have also briefed the Home Office on what action we are taking and we are liaising with several animal charities that have been in touch with us about this incident.  

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