The NFU has swiftly contacted leading police organisations regarding the handling of an escaped calf incident in Surrey.

Disturbing video footage showed police ramming a patrol car into the calf, prompting a strong reaction from both farmers and the public.

NFU livestock board chair David Barton expressed his deep shock at the 'awful' footage, stating: “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."

Following the incident, which occurred near Staines on Friday evening (June 14), a police officer involved has been removed from frontline duties.

The NFU is working with Surrey Police and other forces nationwide to prevent similar situations in the future. They have engaged with rural crime specialists from 40 police forces to understand the challenges of handling livestock incidents.

The meetings have led to a consensus that lessons should be learned, and the NFU sees it as a positive step for future collaboration with the police.

Proposed solutions include police knowing how to contact APHA’s on-call vet and having emergency access to the government’s Cattle Tracing System.

In their letter to the National Police Chiefs' Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the NFU has asked the following:

  • 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 the NFU work with NPCC and/or APCC to avoid similar incidents in the future?