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Killing of runaway cow with police vehicle referred to IOPC

An incident in which a Thames Valley Police officer rammed a runaway cow with his vehicle has been referred to the IOPC.

Three cows had escaped onto the A329 in Wokingham last Thursday (13 May), and while two were successfully returned to their field, one runaway made its way to Woodley.

After two-and-a-half hours during which one member of the public and an officer had both been injured, the decision was made to deliberately drive into the cow in order to put a stop to its rampage. It was then put to sleep at the scene by a vet.

Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, Matthew Barber, said: “I have spoken directly with the Chief Constable and asked the Force to explain the actions of officers involved in the incident in which a police vehicle was used to stop one of the animals.

“I know that many people found the incident concerning and were particularly distressed by the footage circulating on social media. I have, however, been reassured that officers acted appropriately and proportionately in the interests of public safety.”

The use of a tranquiliser and even firearms were also considered.

The commissioner said the action was taken as a last resort after having consulted with the farmer who was present on the scene and attempting to assist the police.

He said a voluntary referral has been made to the IOPC, but added: “In the circumstances, distressing though the incident was, I fully support the actions of Thames Valley Police officers.”

A candlelit vigil for the cow, organised by campaigners from Vegan Action for Animals, is planned to take place this evening. 

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