Watchdog Orders Investigation into Surrey Police’s Handling of Escaped Cow Incident

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Home Breaking Watchdog Orders Investigation into Surrey Police’s Handling of Escaped Cow Incident

Watchdog Orders Investigation into Surrey Police’s Handling of Escaped Cow Incident

Surrey, June 19, 2024 — The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has directed Surrey Police to investigate whether the decision to ram an escaped cow with a patrol car was proportionate and whether the officers involved adhered to professional behaviour standards.

The force faced heavy criticism after a 10-month-old calf was filmed being struck by a police car in Staines-upon-Thames on Friday. The footage, which circulated widely online, drew public outcry and condemnation.

Public and Official Reactions

The cow’s owner, identified only as Rob, described the video as horrific. Wildlife presenter and conservationist Chris Packham questioned the officers’ actions, asking: “What sort of monster rams a calf?” Home Secretary James Cleverly has demanded a “full, urgent explanation” from Surrey Police, deeming the use of force “unnecessarily heavy-handed.”

Police Statement and IOPC Decision

Surrey Police stated that officers attempted various methods to capture the cow, which was reported to be running at members of the public and had damaged a car, before deciding to use a patrol car to stop it.

The IOPC confirmed receiving two complaint referrals from Surrey Police on June 17 regarding the officers’ actions. A spokesman for the watchdog said: “We have decided that an investigation is required into whether the methods used to contain the cow were appropriate and proportionate in these circumstances, and whether the officers upheld police standards of professional behaviour throughout the incident, including their communication with members of the public who were present.

While the IOPC concluded that an investigation was necessary, it determined that the probe should be conducted internally by Surrey Police’s professional standards department. If the complainants are dissatisfied with the investigation’s outcome, they retain the right to request an IOPC review.

Cow’s Condition and Future Steps

The calf, named Beau Lucy, returned to Rob’s farm near the Surrey-Middlesex border on Saturday morning with bruises and is currently recovering.

Surrey Police Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp emphasized the importance of transparency and thoroughness in the investigation. He stated, “A full and thorough investigation will be led by Surrey Police’s Professional Standards Department and overseen by a senior investigating officer from Surrey and Sussex Police’s Major Crime Team. This will take time; however, I reaffirm my commitment to ensuring that this is diligently investigated and we will also continue to provide updates to our local community and the wider public.”

The incident has highlighted the need for clear protocols and training for handling similar situations in the future, ensuring the safety of both animals and the public while maintaining professional standards.

For ongoing updates, follow local news outlets and official statements from Surrey Police and the IOPC.

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