Thames Valley Police has referred itself to a watchdog after an incident where a runaway cow was killed after being "repeatedly" rammed by a police van.

The cow was one of serval that had been reported to have escaped from a farm in Berkshire last Thursday (May 13).

A police vehicle was then filmed colliding with the animal.

An eyewitness to the incident told the BBC that the police van struck the animal four times and that the officers were "clearly trying to kill it".

Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber, stated that he supported the methods used by his officers and said that the ramming of the cow was a "last resort".

The police stated that the actions were taken to prevent the cow from charging at members of the public and that the use of firearms to stop the cow had been considered at one point.

In a statement Barber said: "I know that many people found the incident concerning and were particularly distressed by the footage circulating on social media.

I have, however, been reassured that officers acted appropriately and proportionately in the interests of public safety.

"The action was taken as a last resort after having consulted with the farmer, who was present on the scene and attempting to assist the police."