As part of our new intranet project, we identified that many of our stations on Google Maps featured out of date and incorrect information. We decided to claim our police station listings on Google Maps to provide a better user experience and ensure our officers and staff had accurate information.
We set to work to finding every police station on Google Maps in our force area, claiming the open stations through Google My Business, reporting old, unused stations as permanently closed through Google Maps, and plotting stations that weren’t already on the map. This resulted in us claiming 26 police stations, and our foreign national unit in Clifton.
Some information was really inaccurate – a couple of our open police stations were marked as permanently closed, several of our stations were just named “Avon and Somerset Constabulary”, and many were plotted in the wrong place. We corrected this and added our force crest to every location.
We also reported any inappropriate or off-topic reviews and images and reported where Google Street View was not looking at the front of the station.
Once the information was accurate and up-to-date, we requested bulk verification through Google My Business. One of the factors stopping us from doing this before was the practicality of postcards being delivered to each station and how they could get through to us. But Google now offer a bulk verification process.
After completing their form, we received a phone call from Google to clarify some information. They informed us that their requirements usually include a telephone number for every location (which could not be 101) and all location names to be the same – but as a police force, they saw we were an exception.
Google My Business links directly Google+, meaning there is a Google+ page for each location. It also links to Insights, which gives you an oversight of how many views each location has had, clicks through to your website, clicks for driving instructions, and heat maps of where those driving instructions come from. Already we can see some of the new locations plotted have been viewed between 1,000 – 3,000 times each in just over a month.