NFU writes to police after cow escapes in Surrey

18 June 2024

A herd of beef cows

The NFU is writing to leading police organisations in England to find out more about the way an incident involving an escaped calf in Surrey was handled.

The NFU has moved quickly to reach out to the National Police Chiefs' Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners after disturbing video footage showed police in Surrey driving into an escaped calf.

Both NFU members and the general public have reacted with shock to the incident, which happened near Staines at around 9pm on Friday 14 June.

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.”

In the letter to police leaders, we are asking;

  • 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?

Since the incident we have also met with rural crime specialists from 40 police forces across the country to understand the challenges they face when dealing with livestock while offering our advice and feedback.

The meeting led to agreement that lessons should be learned and that it would be a positive move 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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