Overall I think the Police.UK crime API is fantastic. However, for whatever reason some Police Forces just can’t get their act together and supply the information that the API requires.
For example, take Police Stations. The API allows spaces for name, address, postcode, and latitude/longitude of the station that covers a neighbourhood. Of course we’re going to put these on a map so we’re going to need those Lat/Lngs.
So what are the consequences of not supplying those? Well, it’ll mean developers like me will use what data they have provided and run off to Google Maps and obtain the Lat/Lng coordinates myself. All possible, until I realise that if I omit ‘UK’ in the API then I could get multiple matches from Google (the first being in Germany).
The other problem is one of simple data validation. There is no excuse really for any characters that aren’t A-Z and 0-9 appearing in a postcode. In fact there are databases freely available that can validate at least the first part of a UK postcode. So when the Met has a value of N.4 2DR, the Google API returns a match in Leeds.
So the lesson to learn here is that if you don’t complete the data CLEANLY, other people are just as likely to mess it up and then report it inaccurately.