Driver of Surrey police car which hit cow is removed from duty

A farmer whose runaway cow was rammed by police says the footage of the incident is a sorry sight.

In Summary
  • The force has said the decision to use a car to stop the animal was made because of concerns over public safety.
  • The animal's owner, Rob, who does not wish to give his surname, said: "I think the video speaks for itself. It was quite horrific.
The cow was pictured under the police vehicle after the collision
The cow was pictured under the police vehicle after the collision

The police driver of a response vehicle who hit an escaped cow on a suburban street has been removed from frontline duties.

Surrey Police has started an internal investigation to the incident and has referred itself to the police complaints watchdog.

Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp said: “At this time, the officer who was driving the police car has been removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of these investigations.”

The owner of the 10-month-old calf said the social media footage of the incident on Friday “was painful viewing and it should have been handled in a different manner”, but that the animal was recovering.

Surrey Police has faced criticism over its handling of the incident after the cow, called Beau Lucy, escaped from Staines Moor and was hit twice by a police car on Raleigh Road, Feltham.

The force has said the decision to use a car to stop the animal was made because of concerns over public safety.

The animal's owner, Rob, who does not wish to give his surname, said: "I think the video speaks for itself. It was quite horrific.

"I don't understand why (the police) didn't use a tranquilising dart.

"If they used a tranquilising dart the animal would have calmed right down and gone over (the car) if they needed to get a halter on it or restrain it."

He said Beau Lucy is "a lot better" and recovering well, but added: "Time will tell because we don't know what internal injuries she might have.

"But she's eating so there's always promise when there's that."

'Monitored by vet'

Dep Ch Const Kemp said: “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.”

He added: "I fully appreciate the distress our handling of this incident has caused and will ensure that it is thoroughly and diligently investigated.

"In addition to an internal referral to our Professional Standards Department, we have also referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for independent consideration.

"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."

Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend said: “There is much speculation on social media, which does not necessarily reflect the situation which was ongoing for a number of hours or the difficult decisions facing officers on the ground at the time.

"I would ask everyone to allow time for this to be properly reviewed rather than speculating and causing unnecessary additional stress and concern within the community."

Home Secretary James Cleverley said he "can think of no reasonable need for this action", and has asked for an urgent explanation of the "heavy handed" action.

The RSPCA said the police action "appears disproportionate to the situation".

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