The livestock board chair at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has said he was “deeply shocked and disturbed” by footage of a loose cow being rammed by a police car.

The incident, which occurred on Friday (June 14), saw a loose cow stopped by a police car after failed attempts to capture it safely.

Surrey Police confirmed yesterday that the officer who was driving the police car has been removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of investigations into the incident.

The NFU said both farmers and the general public have reacted with shock to the incident.

It has written to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) about the footage.

NFU livestock board chair David Barton said: “Like all farmers, I was deeply shocked and disturbed by this awful footage.

“It’s very rare for a cow or calf to get loose in an urban environment and I understand that the police have a responsibility to first and foremost protect the public.

“But there has to be a protocol in place to humanely and safely deal with these situations.

“The NFU is working with Surrey Police, and other forces across the country, to help ensure this situation doesn’t happen again.”

Police and farm animals

In the letter, the NFU is asking police leaders about the police protocol for dealing with farm animals, and whether this was followed in the case of the loose cow in Surrey.

The letter also asks:

  • What is the system for contacting farmers in these circumstances;
  • What training is there for officers to help them deal with incidents involving livestock;
  • Can the NFU work with NPCC and/or APCC to avoid incidents such as this.

Since the incident, the union said it has met with rural crime specialists from 40 police forces across the country to understand the challenges they face when dealing with livestock while offering its advice and feedback.

The meeting led to agreement that “lessons should be learned” and that it would be a positive move for police to work with the union in the future, the NFU said.