A Surrey police officer who used a police car to stop a loose cow in Staines-upon-Thames has been removed from frontline duties, the force has confirmed.

Surrey Police received reports on Friday night (June 14) that the cow was running loose throughout the evening on a number of main roads.

During this time, the force said it received numerous calls from the public reporting a car being damaged and the cow running at members of the public.

Given these reports, the force said officers were concerned about the public’s safety, and tried a number of options to safely capture the cow.

When these were unsuccessful, the decision was made to stop the cow using a police car. This matter has been referred to Surrey Police’s Professional Standards Department.

The cow sustained a large cut to its leg, and a vet is overseeing its continued treatment and recovery.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been notified and a voluntary referral will be made in due course, Surrey Police said.

Incident investigation

Deputy chief constable Nev Kemp said he fully appreciates the distress that Surrey Police’s handling of the incident has caused, and said it will ensure that the matter is “thoroughly and diligently investigated”.

“In addition to an internal referral to our Professional Standards Department, we have also referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for independent consideration,” he said.

“At this time, the officer who was driving the police car has been removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of these investigations.

“I know there is much concern around the current welfare of the cow. She is now back with her owner and recuperating with her herd.

“She did sustain a large cut to one leg and cuts and grazes. She continues to be monitored by a vet and our rural officers are staying in contact with the owner for updates.”

Kemp said that, on the night, efforts were made to contact local vets without success and efforts were simultaneously being made to identify the owner. 

“Why these were unsuccessful and what more could and should have been done will form a key part of the investigation,” he said.

“As well as our overriding duty to protect the public, the welfare of animals is important to us and we know people want answers about how this happened and what led up to it.

“I am committed to ensuring that we have a full understanding of what took place and why, and we will fully support any investigation.”

Kemp said he has also briefed the Home Office on what action Surrey Police is taking and it is liaising with several animal charities that have been in touch with us about this incident.