Police, Policing and Policework


This module introduces students to key issues and debates in the history and development of contemporary policing in the UK.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with Knowledge and understanding of the social and historical development of policing and of the changing values that govern policework.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Identify and recognise different police cultures in their historical and contemporary setting through working collaboratively and individually to understand changing responses to crime.

2.  Confidently evaluate changes in policing practices and assess the implications for policework in diverse societies.

3.  Recognise and identify new and emergent forms of private and state policing and develop reasoned arguments about the challenges this poses for public policing.

4.  Critically examine and enquire about changing values and relationships between individuals, groups, public and private policing agencies and the wider social structure.

Indicative Content

1 The History of the Police

'Policing before the police'; from 'Peelers' to 'crime fighters' to 'risk managers' to 'knowledge workers'; models of policing

2 Policing Structures and Systems

What do policing structures look like? How is the service organised? Hierarchies; police powers, police cultures; policing and the media, myth and reality

3 Police Operations

Analysing and investigating crime; policing styles revisited; crime reduction and/or community safety; responding to terrorism; organised crime

4 Key Debates in Contemporary Policing

Governance; accountability; ethics; performance management; policing 'futures'; surveillance

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The module helps students to acquire knowledge and understanding of policing through lectures and collaborative seminar work on a range of subject specific topics. The opportunity to develop confidence in oral presentation is given in tutorials with students encouraged to present their findings on a given topic independently researched, forming the basis of enquiry-based learning. The ability to examine historical change and evaluate changes in policing policy will be assessed in one historical analysis essay focused on learning outcome one and critical thinking and analytical skills will be demonstrated in a 2 hour examination that assesses learning outcomes 2, 3 and 4 enhancing the graduate attributes of challenging complexity and confident thinking as described in learning outcomes.Students taking the module will work collaboratively in tutorials to assess the changing values that govern policework in contemporary society, comparing and evaluating different policing styles and police forces. They will be encouraged to use IT sources to gather subject relevant information and will be encouraged to orally present topics in the field of policing and discuss their findings within the group developing confident presentational skills in the subject area.The majority of tutorial and workshop time is allocated to this enquiry- based activity.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 20
Tutorial/Seminar 10
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 4
Assessment 30
Independent 136

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.