CRI-20021 - Policing and the Police
Coordinator: Tony Kearon Room: CBB1.031 Tel: +44 1782 7 34382
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective





Cri-10013 Criminal Justice, Process, Policy, Practice

Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

Policing and the police are constantly in the news. Police investigations of serious crime - terrorism, murder, rape and robbery - make the headlines every day, as increasingly do stories of police conduct that may undermine public confidence in policing. Policing is also a staple of crime fiction on television, in films and print. But media headlines and TV cop shows tell us very little about what policing is really like. While the media concentrate on the police as crime fighters - the thin blue line between order and chaos - the reality of policing is both more varied and more challenging.
This module aims to go behind the headlines and to answer some basic questions. What do we mean by policing? How does it relate to experiences and feelings of security? Who does policing and who are the police? How do the people and institutions responsible for policing relate to each other? What do the people we think of as the police actually do? And how is all of this changing as societies become more diverse, the threats to security more global in their origins and ways of responding to them more varied?
The main focus of the module is on policing in England and Wales but in answering these questions we will draw on an international literature written by scholars and researchers from many other jurisdictions including the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa. We will also look in detail at: the structure and organization of the police; the development of policing; the main characteristics and conditions for existence of a distinctive culture within police organizations; and the powers of the police and how they are held to account for their use.

To introduce students to the development and contemporary practice of policing and the police, primarily with reference to England and Wales, but with extensive use of international comparative aspects, theories and concepts where relevant. Although the focus is primarily on policing in England and Wales, students will also be introduced to a broader context of Britain as an increasingly multi-cultural society, and the socio-legal and policy responses to the policing of a multi-cultural society will be located in their broader global and post-colonial contexts.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Recognize the nature, diversity and impact of policing provision and its contribution to security with particular reference to the relationship between policing and social diversity in unequal societies: 1
Critically engage with scholarly and policy debates about policing and the police, from the UK, from Europe and the US, and also from beyond these dominant traditions: 1
Assess the role and contribution of the public police and other institutions through which policing is provided and how they relate to each other: 1
Identify and evaluate the range of different strategies and approaches by which policing is undertaken, and the debates and controversies to which they have given rise: 1
Distinguish between the mechanisms and institutions through which policing provision and the use of police powers are governed and held publicly accountable: 1

Study hours

12 hours of interactive lecture activity.
12 hours of tutor led small group/seminar activity.
24 hours of directed online asynchronous activity designed to help students prepare for in situ classes and/or reflect on issues covered in sessions.
102 hours personal study, additional self directed preparation for classes, assessment preparation etc.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 100%
2000 word essay - students select and answer ONE essay question from a list of questions provided to students.
Students will attempt 1 essay question drawn from a list of questions that reflects the weekly topics covered in the module. Essay will be 2000 words in length.