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The cow ended up with its head and upper body trapped under the police car. Image Credit: Screengrab

London: An officer who tried to intercept a fleeing cow by hitting it with a vehicle in England has been removed from duty, police said in a statement on Sunday.

The incident occurred on Friday evening after police were called to a sighting of a cow in a residential area of the small town of Staines-upon-Thames in southern England.

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Surrey Police on Sunday said that the officer driving the car had been "removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of these investigations".

Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp of Surrey Police said: "I fully appreciate the distress our handling of this incident has caused and will ensure that it is thoroughly and diligently investigated."

Images published on social media and in the British press showed a police car hitting the animal twice. The cow ended up with its head and upper body trapped under the police car.

"I can think of no reasonable need for this action. I've asked for a full, urgent explanation for this. It appears to be unnecessarily heavy handed," Home Secretary James Cleverly wrote on X, formally Twitter.

On Saturday, police said that after several unsuccessful attempts to recover the cow and taking public safety into account, a decision was made to intercept the cow using the police vehicle.

The 10-month-old cow, christened "Beau Lucy", was examined by a vet and reunited with its owner who said the animal was "doing better".