Officer who struck loose cow with police car removed from frontline duties

A Surrey Police officer has been taken off frontline duties after striking a loose cow twice with his vehicle in Staines-upon-Thames.

Jun 17, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Surrey Police said it has started an internal investigation into the incident on Friday evening (June 14) and has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The incident was captured on video, which was shared widely on social media.

Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp said: “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 IOPC for independent consideration.

“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. 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.

“We will continue to provide both our local communities and the wider public with updates as investigations into this matter continue and will also publish these on our website.”

Surrey Police said that around 8.55pm, it received reports that a cow was running loose in Staines-upon-Thames.

“The cow was running loose throughout the evening on a number of main roads and during this time, we received numerous calls from the public reporting a car being damaged and it running at members of the public,” it said.

“Given these reports, officers were extremely concerned about the public’s safety, and over a period of a number of hours tried a number of options to safely capture the cow.

“Unfortunately, these were unsuccessful, and the decision was made to stop it using a police car.”

However, Home Secretary James Cleverly posted on X: “I can think of no reasonable need for this action. I’ve asked for a full, urgent explanation for this. It appears to be unnecessarily heavy-handed.”

Chief Inspector Sam Adcock said: “I know that this has caused distress and I’d like to thank the community for their concern. 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.

“I know there are videos circulating of this incident, which the public may find distressing. I would ask that these videos are sent directly to us to help with our investigation.”

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 agree the force were right to opt for a self-referral in this instance, and I know they are also thoroughly evaluating the incident internally.

“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.

“I am receiving regular updates from chief officers and will continue to monitor the ongoing situation.”

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