Police officer who rammed cow still off front-line duty despite watchdog’s refusal to investigate

The calf – named Beau Lucy – suffered a gash to its leg but is recovering after being treated by a vet
The calf – named Beau Lucy – suffered a gash to its leg but is recovering after being treated by a vet - Steve Reigate/Picture Partnership

The police officer who drove into a cow remains off front-line duties despite the watchdog refusing to investigate, it can be revealed.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) decided that an investigation into “whether the methods used to contain the cow were appropriate” was needed but that the matter was for Surrey Police’s professional standards department to look into.

It comes amid a row over the force used by officers in Surrey, who were filmed ramming a police car into the calf – named Beau Lucy – in a residential street in Feltham, west London.

But despite the decision, the officer, who is being supported by staff at the Surrey Police Federation, remains off front-line duties, it is understood.

A spokesman for the Surrey Police Federation said: “Policing is a difficult, challenging and dangerous job.

“Officers are rightly held to account for their actions – we have no issue with this. But this fair, balanced and timely accountability must not come in the form of trial by media or indeed social media.

“Or loaded comments from politicians and high-profile people who are not aware of all the facts.

“Surrey Police Federation are supporting our colleague caught in a media storm over the weekend. We must remember there is a human being behind the uniform.

“The incident is subject to investigation and we would urge patience and understanding during this time.

“We would remind people who may be shocked and concerned at this incident to note that we do not know all the information – and all the officers involved will be spoken to determine what happened and why.

“Please let the investigation run its course so that we can get answers.

“And we would ask the Surrey public to please continue to support our police officers who keep you safe every day, doing a tough job.”

David Barton, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) livestock board chair, 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.”

The officer, who was driving the police vehicle used to ram into the calf, was removed from front-line duties on Sunday amid widespread anger over the use of force.

The 10-month-old female calf escaped from common grazing land in Staines on Friday evening and was reportedly charging around a residential area.

Surrey Police insisted officers had spent several hours trying to catch the animal before the decision was made to run it down using a car to keep the public safe.

But when footage of the incident emerged, James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, demanded an “urgent explanation” from the force, describing the response as “unnecessarily heavy-handed”.

Other commentators, including animal rights campaigners, complained about the police’s response. Chris Packham, the wildlife television presenter, described those responsible as “monsters” and suggested they should be “investigated and prosecuted”.

The calf suffered a gash to its leg but is recovering after being treated by a vet.

Its 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.”

The calf's owners say 'the handling of this situation was cruel and barbaric'
The calf's owners say 'the handling of this situation was cruel and barbaric' - Steve Reigate/PICTURE PARTNERSHIP

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.

The IOPC 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.”