Police force uses car to stop loose cow

Warning: This article contains images that some people may find distressing

Surrey Police said it will refer itself to the police complaints watchdog following an incident in which a cow was deliberately struck twice by a response vehicle.

The force said in a statement that after attempts to safely capture the cow “over a period of a number of hours” failed, “the decision was made to stop it using a police car”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said he would be asking for an urgent explanation, describing the actions as "heavy handed".

The RSPCA said the police response, which saw the animal hit twice by a marked vehicle in Staines-on-Thames, "appears disproportionate".

Footage shared online shows a marked vehicle ramming into the cow, which appears to be stunned and tries to get to its feet, before being hit a second time.

In the 26-second video, bystanders can be heard reacting in shock as the cow is struck by the vehicle.

An eyewitness told BBC News the incident was "distressing for everyone" who saw it.

Adrian Pearson said: "I think it could have been handled better. It's quite extreme the way the police dealt with it.

"I think it could have been dealt with a lot more humanely. I think it was quite distressing for everyone."

The animal has been seen by a vet and is receiving treatment for a large cut to its leg, Surrey Police said.

“This matter has been referred to our professional standards department.

"The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been notified and a voluntary referral will be made in due course,” the force said in a statement.

Ch Insp Tatton Sam Adcock added: “The decision to use the police car is one that was only taken after other methods to stop the cow had failed."

The force confirmed the incident took place in Staines-upon-Thames shortly before 21:00 BST on Friday evening.

It said: “The cow ran onto a number of main roads and caused traffic disruption within the local area.

"Whilst attempting to move the cow to safety, it became increasingly distressed and was injured.”

It said officers responding "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".

The RSPCA said: "Surrey Police has referred themselves to their own professional standards department and to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

"We support this as the action appears disproportionate to the situation. We are happy to assist in any investigations carried out."

'Urgent explanation'

Mr Cleverly, writing on X, said: "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."

Wildlife activist and presenter Chris Packham said: "I don’t know where to start with this.

"But it’s surely illegal and must be investigated and prosecuted.

"What sort of monster rams a calf? Twice?"

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