A POLICE watchdog will not investigate an incident which saw a Thames Valley officer run down a stray cow in May.

The force referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct following the killing of the cow, which was unable to be contained after it had escaped in Woodley.

But the IOPC will not investigate the matter, which caused uproar online and led to a vigil for the animal. 

A spokesperson for the watchdog said: “After carrying out a thorough assessment we determined that the information provided by Thames Valley Police did not meet the criteria for a referral to us and therefore the matter has been sent back to the force.”

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Thames Valley Police has been contacted for comment.

‘No complaints’

An investigation by the Chronicle found that Thames Valley Police recorded ‘no formal complaints’ related to the incident in the fallout from the controversy.

A Freedom of Information request sent to the force revealed that “complaints had been made by members of the public in relation to this incident, however none of them were eligible to complain formally, therefore no formal complaints were recorded.”

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TVP did not respond to a request for comment explaining why no formal complaints had been recorded.

And according to the force, the incident was not recorded as a crime despite some residents claiming they had reported it as such.

'Best judgement'

In May, Matthew Barber revealed the force had referred itself to the IOPC following the incident.

Following the watchdog’s decision not to investigate the matter, he reaffirmed his support for the actions taken by officers that night.

Reading Chronicle: The escaped cowThe escaped cow

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Speaking to the Chronicle, he said: “I reviewed the actions of officers in conversations with the Chief Constable and the senior officer commanding the incident, and as per the statement I put out, I was content that officers acted using their best judgement in the interests of public safety and having considered reasonable alternatives.”

Decision 'not taken lightly' on night of incident

A cow escaped from a field in Woodley on the evening of Thursday, May 13.

In a statement posted after the incident, police said several attempts were made to bring the cow under control when it escaped last month.

But officers were unable to do this and the animal moved to a residential area.

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"It became increasingly distressed and charged at a member of the public causing her minor injury, as well as causing injuries to a TVP officer and damage to vehicles”, the statement read.

“Despite efforts of both the police and the farmer to whom the animal belonged, the cow could not be safely brought under control.

“Officers subsequently used a police vehicle to stop the cow and prevent it from charging towards other members of the public.

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“After all other options including tranquilisation were precluded, the cow was humanely euthanised at the scene by a private company.

“This decision, whilst not taken lightly, was necessary to limit the suffering of the animal, to prevent further injury and to ensure the safety of the public.”