NFU writes to police over escaped calf incident 

The NFU is writing to leading police organisations in England to find out more about how an escaped calf recently came to be hit by a police car.

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Disturbing footage of a police car repeatedly driving into a 10-month-old escaped calf prompted outrage when it was released last week.

The incident happened near Staines, Surrey, at around 9pm on 14th June.

Surrey Police claimed officers were concerned about public safety and had been trying to capture the calf “over a period of a number of hours”.

The driver of the police car has been removed from frontline duties.

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Protocol needed

The NFU has reached out to the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, to find out more about how the incident was handled.

NFU Livestock Board chair David Barton 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.”

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The union is asking police leaders: 

  • What is the police protocol for dealing with farm animals and was this followed?
  • What is the system for contacting farmers in these circumstances?
  • What training is there for officers to help them deal with incidents involving livestock?
  • Can NFU work with NPCC &/or APCC to avoid incidents such as this?

READ MORE: Jeremy Clarkson speaks out after cow was hit twice by police car

Lessons to be learned

NFU has also met with rural crime specialists from 40 police forces across the country to understand the challenges they face when dealing with livestock. It also offered its own advice and feedback.

Following the meeting, it was agreed that lessons should be learned and it would be positive for police to work with the NFU in the future.

Potential future solutions could involve police understanding how to contact APHA’s on-call vet and having emergency access to the government’s Cattle Tracing System.

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Painful viewing

Jeremy Clarkson commented on the incident on social media and referred to the upcoming general election.

He wrote on X: ‘I will vote for any party which stops the police from running over cows.’ 

Meanwhile, the owner of the escaped calf also spoke out, saying the social media footage was: “painful viewing and it should have been handled in a different manner”.

Home secretary James Cleverly demanded a “full, urgent” explanation. 

The breeding heifer survived the incident, sustaining a large cut to one leg as well as cuts and grazes. 

She is back with her owner and recuperating with the herd. 

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

Read more livestock news.

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