Two firearms officers are under investigation over an allegation that they killed a deer using a crowbar, instead of ending the animal’s life in a humane manner.
The Durham Police officers had been dispatched to a road in Tanfield Lea, County Durham, where a deer had been severely injured after being hit by a vehicle.
It is believed the officers are being investigated over an allegation of not following usual protocol in terminating the animal’s life, and instead of using their firearms to kill the animal, they are understood to have used a crowbar.
A spokesperson for the force told The Northern Echo it is not unusual for firearms officers to be deployed on occasions when a deer or another large animal is “clearly suffering” as the result of being struck by a vehicle and the best action would be for the animal to be “humanely destroyed”.
Police said the approved method of humanely destroying an animal is for the armed response crew to be authorised to use their weapons to kill the animal, ensuring that the death is quick and clean.
“We can confirm inquiries are being made to establish the circumstances surrounding the destruction of an injured deer on a road in Tanfield Lea in early June,” the spokesperson said, adding: “It has been brought to our attention that the deer was apparently not destroyed in the approved, humane manner.”
The two firearms officers in question have been moved to different duties while the investigation is being carried out.