Express & Star

Police force must investigate whether decision to ram calf was proportionate

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said Surrey Police must also look at whether the officers involved met standards of professional behaviour.

Last updated
Ten-month-old calf Beau Lucy, who was rammed by a Surrey Police car after escaping

A watchdog has told Surrey Police to investigate whether a decision to ram an escaped cow with a patrol car was proportionate and whether the officers involved met standards of professional behaviour.

The force was heavily criticised after footage was posted online of a 10-month-old calf being rammed by a police car following reports of a loose animal in Staines-upon-Thames on Friday.

Wildlife presenter and conservationist Chris Packham asked: “What sort of monster rams a calf?”, while Home Secretary James Cleverly asked for a “full, urgent explanation” as to why officers used the car to ram the escaped animal, saying it seemed “unnecessarily heavy-handed”.

The calf’s owners, named only as Rob and Kate, said allowing Surrey Police to investigate themselves made it easier for the force to justify the action taken.

They added: “We still hold the thought that the handling of this situation was cruel and barbaric.”

Surrey Police said officers tried a number of ways to capture the cow after reports it was running at members of the public and had damaged a car, before the decision was taken to stop it by force using a patrol car.

Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct said on Wednesday that the force could investigate what happened internally.

A spokesman said: “We received two complaint referrals from Surrey Police on June 17 in relation to the actions and decision-making by officers from the force while trying to detain a cow in Feltham, west London, on Friday June 14.

“Footage of the cow being struck by a police car was shared widely on social media and we have examined this along with footage and audio provided by the force from the officers’ body-worn videos.

“They show the animal ramming a police car, charging at members of the public and posing a risk to road users.

“After careful consideration, 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.

“However, we do not consider the investigation needs to be undertaken by the IOPC so it will be for Surrey’s professional standards department to take it forward.

“If the complainants are unhappy with the outcome of the investigation they will have a right of review to the IOPC, providing a level of independent oversight.”

The calf, named Beau Lucy, was returned to Rob’s farm, located near the border between Surrey and Middlesex, on Saturday morning with bruises, and has since been recovering.

Surrey Police Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp said: “I know how important it is that we provide the public with answers as to how these actions came about and what events led up to it.

“We acknowledge the decision of the IOPC that this should be a local investigation and will continue to progress this accordingly.

“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.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.