Module details for 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

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 20
Tutorial/Seminar 10
Practical Activity 4
Assessment 30
Independent 136
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.