police.uk changes order of crimes in neighbourhood files for October 2012 data

Home Forums Bad Data police.uk changes order of crimes in neighbourhood files for October 2012 data

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    Last week we ran the update for October 2012 data and soon enough, we started seeing some very odd results. It turns out that without consulting or forewarning, the order of the crime categories was changed for all 5,000 plus neighbourhoods so 9 out of our 13 categories were very wrong !

    The order of the fields in the neighbourhood crime files used to be:

    Month,Force,Neighbourhood,All crime,Burglary,Anti-social behaviour,Robbery,Vehicle crime,Violent crime,Public disorder and weapons,Shoplifting,Criminal damage and arson,Other theft,Drugs,Other crime

    Now it is:

    Month,Force,Neighbourhood,All crime,Anti-social behaviour,Burglary,Criminal damage and arson,Drugs,Other theft,Public disorder and weapons,Robbery,Shoplifting,Vehicle crime,Violent crime,Other crime

    We have now fixed this bug but have asked the Home Office for some explanation and reassurance that this won’t happen again without consultation or at least forewarning. They would really benefit from some professional data governance or just some two way conversation with developers. I will update you with their answer here when I have it.



    The Home Office have just confirmed back that they did do this and have apologised for any inconvenience caused. I have copied and pasted a couple of paragraphs from their reply below;

    “Enhanced testing, both supplier and customer side, will be included going forwards to prevent this happening again which will include the structure of CSV files. Under new contract arrangements we are also working with our supplier to develop the testing strategy, and have recently started to migrate much of our pre-release testing from manual to automated testing. This will allow more comprehensive coverage in the time we have for testing during the monthly data processing cycle.

    The aim is that we will greatly reduce the risk of incidents such as this going through to public release without prior notification and enable us to carry out more rigorous testing without slowing down the release of data into the public domain. We are also working together to enable a ‘data change’ notification process that can be published with each data release, each month. This will give prior knowledge to the developer community of imminent and forthcoming changes.”

    I am still seeking assurances however that they won’t at least also consult before pre-warned implementation of changes. That would herald the start of a 2 way conversation between the police.uk monopoly and the independent sector.



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