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SP30362: Policing

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment detail for this unit will be available shortly. (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: This unit focuses and explores the organization, structure and function of the police in contemporary society. It engages with contemporary debates regarding the role of the police in the prevention, detection and investigation a range of different forms of criminality, whether they occur in public spaces, domestic spaces, cyberspace and/or across domestic borders. The unit explores these contemporary debates within their historical and sociological context, and considers the future of policing.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this unit students will be able to:
1. Understand and critically analyse key concepts (such as 'due process', 'crime control') and key aspects of policing (such as stop and search and police detention)
2. Understand, explain and critically assess the legislative and policy framework governing police powers
3. Evaluate the role of the police in detection and investigating different forms of criminality
4. Critically evaluate the available data, evidence and literature to discuss aspects of police culture, organization and practice.� 
5. Explain and discuss the current challenges and complexities in policing

* Critically evaluate key concepts and theories relating to policing
* Critically evaluate and analyse contemporary debates about the police and policing
* Independent research skills - identifying and locating a range of relevant sources, including policy papers, interest group publications, statistical data, academic texts, Parliamentary papers and legislation
* Critical reading skills
* Writing clearly and concisely
* Thinking creatively and independently, including thinking about possible reforms in policy and practice
* Constructing a persuasive argument
* Planning, preparing and drafting a time bound written answer
* Use of appropriate IT software to prepare the assessment.

Content: The content will depend on available teaching expertise, but is likely to include topics such as:
1. Historical Perspectives on the Police and Policing
2. Police Powers and Criminal Investigation
3. Police Staff and Leadership
4. Police Culture
5. Policing Diversity
6. Police and the Media
7. Policing the Streets
8. Policing Cyberspace
9. Policing Global and Transnational Crime
10. Police Accountability.

Programme availability:

SP30362 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB22 : BSc(Hons) Criminology (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 4)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.