Fury grows as shock footage shows police ramming escaped cow with squad car

15 June 2024, 17:12 | Updated: 15 June 2024, 23:15

Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow
Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

Fury is growing after footage appearing to show police ramming a loose cow with a squad car surfaced online.

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In the video, which was posted on social media on Saturday, appears to show a Surrey Police vehicle can be seen to slam into a cow that is standing on a residential street.

The stunned cow then gets to its feet again, before being rammed by the police car a second time.

Following the second hit, the cow remains on the ground, with officers exiting their vehicle in order to assess the situation.

After the footage surfaced, the Home Secretary took to social media to call for a formal investigation.

Posting to X, James Cleverly wrote: "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," the Home Secretary added.

Warning: Readers may find the footage below disturbing

The incident took place in Staines-upon-Thames, a market town in northwest Surrey, England, on Friday evening.

As part of the video, Bystanders can be heard reacting in shock and horror to the incident.

Following the emergence of the footage, Surrey Police issued a statement, with the force noting it responded to reports of a loose cow in Staines-upon-Thames at around 8.55pm on Friday evening.

The police note that 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.

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"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. 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 cow was eventually moved to a nearby farm during the early hours of June 15, according to the force, assisted by a member of the public.

Following the news, a spokesperson for the Independent Office for Police Conduct has now said: “We have been notified by Surrey Police about this incident and that a referral will be made in due course.

"When we receive it we will carry out an assessment to determine what further action is required by us.”

Others who saw the clip online have also condemned the police's actions.

Chris Packham, the wildlife presenter and activist, 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?"

Another person said: "This was totally unnecessary and totally above the force needed relevant to the risk."

The video posted is under 30 seconds long, so may be missing context that informed the officers' actions.

Chief Inspector Adam Tatton said: “We know that this has caused some distress within the local community this evening, and I would like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to identify the owners and ensure the cow is seen as quickly as possible by a vet.

Surrey Police has issued a statement on the matter following the release of the footage, with the force noting it responded to reports of a loose cow in Staines-upon-Thames at around 8.55pm on Friday evening.
Surrey Police has issued a statement on the matter following the release of the footage, with the force noting it responded to reports of a loose cow in Staines-upon-Thames at around 8.55pm on Friday evening. Picture: X

“Our priority when responding to any incident is first and foremost the safety of the public. I would like to thank the community for their understanding this evening, and ask that they stay away from the park while officers are on scene.”

A similar incident, which took place in 2021, saw Thames Valley Police officers ram and kill a runaway cow in Berkshire.

The incident was not deemed to have met the criteria for a referral to an independent watchdog, and so was not investigated.

An IOPC spokesperson said at the time: “After carrying out a thorough assessment we determined that the information provided by Thames Valley Police did not meet the criteria for a referral to us and therefore the matter has been sent back to the force.”

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