Auckland road police have rolled up their sleeves to help our national blood service during the Covid-19 crisis.

Motorway patrol sergeant Andy Meale was one of about 16 police officers who took the time while off-duty yesterday to donate blood during the alert level 4 lockdown.

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It was an initiative from his road policing colleagues, who all know too well the vital role blood can play saving lives after a crash.

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The worst part of the job was having to tell someone that a family member had died, Meale said.

"It is a horrible job to go and knock on someone's door and tell them they have lost someone close to them."

The officers wanted to help because they knew there could be an impact on blood donations in later weeks as the country continues to respond to the global Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

"We thought it would be really good to just step up and do something to help the blood service maintain their supply," Meale said.

Auckland motorway patrol sergeant Andy Meale gives blood at the donor centre in Epsom. Photo / NZ Police
Auckland motorway patrol sergeant Andy Meale gives blood at the donor centre in Epsom. Photo / NZ Police

"We wanted to make sure we were doing our bit."

Every blood donation could save up to three lives in hospital, Meale said.

Among the group constables Ben Heap and Anna Harkin donated blood for the first time.

The duo would have some catching up to do if they want to equal the efforts of their colleague senior constable Eugene Burke - who has already been a blood donor for more than 25 years.

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Auckland motorway patrol sergeant Andy Meale said they
Auckland motorway patrol sergeant Andy Meale said they "wanted to make sure we were doing our bit". Photo / NZ Police

The police officers donated blood in two separate groups at the centre in Epsom, where - among other precautions - measures have been taken to ensure people are standing two metres apart.

New Zealand Blood Service national manager of marketing and communications Asuka Burge said the service was "immensely grateful" to all the healthy people who were continuing to donate blood and blood products.

While there was no shortage of donors booked in for the next couple of weeks, they would need healthy people to fill appointments from the end of April, she said.

"Donor centres and mobile drives are safe places to visit," Burge said.

"This is managed in several ways, including a strict vetting process prior to donors entering the building.

"It's vital that anyone wishing to donate makes an appointment first – anyone who just turns up at a blood centre will be turned away."

Appointments allow the blood service to manage the flow of people coming through the doors at their donation centres, Burge said.

To donate blood it is vital to have an appointment.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website