Police officer who rammed into runaway calf under investigation as farmer says cow may still die

Beau Lucy, a 10-month-old calf, is back on the Staines farm she escaped from by swimming across a river

Barney Davis
Sunday 16 June 2024 19:59 BST
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Police in Surrey strike loose cow twice with car

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A Surrey Police officer has been taken off frontline duties after striking a runaway cow twice with his vehicle – a moment caught on video that caused widespread shock as it went viral on social media.

In the video, the young cow, Beau Lucy, is seen loose in the street in Staines before being rammed twice by the police vehicle.

The partner of the farmer who owns Beau Lucy has called for the driver to be sacked – and said the calf could still die from its injuries.

The officer will be withdrawn from frontline duties until an investigation into his conduct has been completed, the force said after the tactics used to stop the cow were described by home secretary James Cleverly as “heavy handed”.

Police say the 10-month-old calf is now back at her farm and recuperating with her herd after suffering a large gash to her leg.

Beau Lucy is understood to have slipped from her grazing enclosure and swum across a river before making it to Staines-upon-Thames on Friday night.

Video footage shows Beau Lucy running loose on streets and pavements before being run down by a Surrey Police 4x4.

Police claimed the animal was a threat to human life, but Mr Cleverly posted on X that he could “think of no reasonable need for this action”.

Kate, the partner of the farmer who owns the cow, told Sky News: “It looked like they tried to kill it.

“Honestly, when I saw the video, I thought he should lose his job. I just thought it was disgusting, I couldn’t believe it.

“I don’t know if it was his decision to drive at the animal or whether he was instructed to, but the police, when they got out of the car, looked pretty agitated themselves.”

Beau Lucy chases after one local
Beau Lucy chases after one local (Kai Bennetts/PA Wire)

In the viral footage, Beau Lucy can be seen running down the middle of the road as a man ducks around parked vehicles.

A marked police car accelerates into the calf, sending the 200kg animal rolling down the road. She staggers to her feet before the police car again drives into her, this time pinning her head underneath its front axle.

In a second clip, Beau Lucy is seen getting back to her feet, after which she stumbles into a front garden, clearly in shock from the collision.

Officers get out of the vehicle and shout at concerned locals to get back.

Kate said it was a shame that the officers had not contacted her or a vet to use a tranquilliser on Beau Lucy, adding: “It wasn’t that out of control, just spooked.”

She said: “I can only imagine the police that did it have no idea about farm animals. I couldn’t believe she ended up where she did.”

She said Beau Lucy was returned highly agitated, but that she is now eating and drinking again, having been inspected by a vet.

“I don’t know whether she will live,” she said. “She could have died of the shock, but hopefully she’ll live.”

Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp said: “I fully appreciate the distress our handling of this incident has caused and will ensure that it 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.

“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.

“I can confirm 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.

“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 by the IOPC.

“I have also briefed the Home Office on what action we are taking, and we are liaising with several animal charities that have been in touch with us about this incident.”

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