Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Allison Holmes checkmark-circle


This module offers a critical study of policing from historical, legal, political and social perspectives. It focuses primarily on policing in the United Kingdom, with other appropriate jurisdictions (including the European Union) being used for comparative purposes.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 180
Total study hours: 200


LLM in (Specialisation); LLM in Law; PG Diploma in (Specialisation); PG Certificate in Law

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay – no more than 5000 words (100%)

Reassessment methods

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Brodeur, J-P, The Policing Web (OUP, 2010)
Conway, V, Policing Twentieth Century Ireland: a History of An Garda Siochana (Sage, 2013)
Elmsley, C, The History of Policing (Ashgate, 2011)
Lister, S, and M. Rowe Accountability of Policing (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).
McLaughlin, E, The New Policing (Sage 2007)
Newburn, T, (ed.) Handbook of Policing 2nd ed (Willan, 2014)
Newburn, T, (ed.) Policing – Key Readings (Willan, 2004)
Reiner, R. The Politics of the Police 4th ed (OUP, 2010)
Walsh, DPJ, Human Rights and Policing in Ireland: Law, Policy and Practice (Clarus, 2009)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Critique the origins, development and future of policing in the United Kingdom and comparable jurisdictions.
2. Critically probe the forces driving and shaping the structure, organisation, functions, policies, practices and procedures of policing in the
United Kingdom and comparable jurisdictions.
3. Critique the law and practice on: the investigation, detection and prevention of crime; the maintenance of public order; and cross-border
police cooperation.
4. Critically assess the role of democratic, legal and administrative processes in the governance of the police and in rendering the police
accountable for their actions, policies and performance.
5. Critically assess the emergence, development and practices of private policing.
6. Appreciate and critique the ethical and legal principles applicable to policing policies and practices.
7. Conduct independent critical research on policing issues, and present incisive perspectives on them.
8. Identify and critically debate the legal, constitutional, political and cultural forces underpinning topical issues in policing.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Research, interpret and apply complex material from across several disciplines, such as: law, criminal justice, politics, history and sociology
2. Research, interpret and apply primary and secondary legal materials from national, European and international sources
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the specificity of textual analysis
4. Demonstrate skills in making well-constructed written arguments
5. Demonstrate skills in oral and visual presentation of complex ideas and materials
6. Demonstrate critical and self-reflexive modes of thought and analysis
7. Demonstrate awareness of and capacity to debate some of the major social, political and legal issues of the day in national, European and
international affairs
8. Demonstrate the capacity for independent learning
9. Demonstrate the ability to formulate viable research questions
10. Demonstrate the capacity to undertake independent research on a specific topic
11. Present research findings within a critical theoretical framework


Stage 1


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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