Policing - LW871

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
View Timetable
7 20 (10) PROF DP Walsh


None, though a general background in either law or another discipline related to criminal justice is assumed.





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.

Topics covered

  • History of the structure, organisation and concept of the police
  • Ethical and legal principles underlying policing as well as the implications for policing of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • The different functions of policing
  • Police culture
  • Police powers and procedures
  • Public order policing
  • Police governance and accountability
  • Cross-border police co-operation
  • Private policing
  • Details

    This module appears in:

    Contact hours

    2 hours per week combined lecture/seminar excluding reading and writing weeks (18 weeks). The remaining 182 hours are dedicated to private study time. There are 200 study hours for the module.


    Autumn Term

    Method of assessment

    100% coursework comprising of one 5,000 word essay (maximum).

    Indicative reading

    J-P Brodeur, The Policing Web (OUP, 2010)
    V Conway, Policing Twentieth Century Ireland: a History of An Garda Siochana (Sage, 2013)
    C Elmsley, The History of Policing (Ashgate, 2011)
    S Hufnagel, C Harfield, S Bronitt (eds), Cross Border Law Enforcement: Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation - Europe, Australia and Asia-Pacific Perspectives
    P Joyce, Policing: Development & Contemporary Practice (Sage, 2011)
    E McLaughlin, The New Policing (Sage, 2007)
    T Newburn (ed), Handbook of Policing, 2nd ed (Willan, 2014)
    T Newburn (ed), Policing – Key Readings (Willan, 2004)
    M Punch, Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing (Willan, 2009)
    R Reiner, The Politics of the Police, 4th ed (OUP, 2010)
    D P Walsh, Human Rights and Policing in Ireland: Law, Policy and Practice (Clarus, 2009)

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

    Learning outcomes

    Critique the origins, development and future of policing in the United Kingdom and comparable jurisdictions.
    Critically probe the forces driving and shaping the structure, organisation, functions, policies, practices and procedures of policing in the United Kingdom and comparable jurisdictions.
    Critique the law and practice on: the investigation, detection and prevention of crime; the maintenance of public order; and cross-border police cooperation.
    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.
    Critically assess the emergence, development and practices of private policing.
    Appreciate and critique the ethical and legal principles applicable to policing policies and practices.
    Conduct independent critical research on policing issues, and present incisive perspectives on them orally and in essay form.
    Identify and critically debate the legal, constitutional, political and cultural forces underpinning topical issues in policing.

    research, interpret and apply complex material from across several disciplines, such as: law, criminal justice, politics, history and sociology
    research, interpret and apply primary and secondary legal materials from national, European and international sources
    Demonstrate an understanding of the specificity of textual analysis
    Demonstrate skills in making well-constructed oral and written argument
    Demonstrate skills in oral and visual presentation of complex ideas and materials
    Demonstrate critical and self-reflexive modes of thought and analysis
    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
    Demonstrate the capacity for independent learning
    Demonstrate the ability to formulate viable research questions
    Demonstrate the capacity to undertake independent research on a specific topic
    Present research findings within a critical theoretical framework


    Stage 1

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