VOLUNTEER motorbike couriers who transport life-saving items between hospitals have been given permission to use sirens.
The Blood Bike service, which was set up as a satellite service under the Whiteknights charity by two Hartlepool police community safety officers (PCSOs), saves the NHS money by providing volunteer riders on evenings and weekends when the internal courier system is not working.
They transport vital items such as blood, diagnostic specimens and medical equipment between health sites in the area, including the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
Now PCSO Jon Formstone and PCSO Mark Say have been given the authorisation by Cleveland Police to have sirens fitted to their bikes to go with the lights that they are already allowed to use.
Police chiefs say it will help them filter through traffic faster and get to their destination quicker, helping them save more lives.
Assistant Chief Constable Sean White said: “These two officers do amazing work in their spare time and are an asset to the force.
“In order to assist them in their voluntary work, they have been given special dispensation which will help them save more lives.
“Their passion and generosity is inspiring and they should be immensely proud of themselves.”
The riders are not however allowed to exceed speed limits or contravene any traffic signs.
Sergeant Gary Hatton, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “The law is clear that the volunteers do not have any authority to exceed the speed limits or contravene any traffic signs.
“Therefore, if any of the blood bikes are seen on the roads I would urge other road users to afford them passage through the traffic but be aware that they will stop at traffic lights and obey the law at all times.”
PCSO Formstone added: “I would like to thank the team at the roads policing unit, in particular Sgt Hatton for the help and support he has shown towards the charity here in Teesside. We would also like to express our thanks to Assistant Chf Cons White for his input into helping the charity achieve its objectives.
“I would also like to thank the public for their support while the bikes are on duty.”