Policing & Society - SO5011

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5)




Cannot be taken with LW542 or SA557



This module seeks to demonstrate a critical insight into policing and society. It provides an overview of some of the key issues and controversies in the delivery of justice and social control. It encourages students to think critically about the role and function of the state in the regulation of behaviour and protection of citizens through a focus on the public and private spheres. Key issues confronting contemporary policing are explored together with an enhanced theoretical awareness of the historical context within which contemporary policing has developed. Broad base reform agendas are explored and debates about policing are situated within wider discourses of social control, governance, accountability and legitimacy; together with a critical appreciation of the impact of organisational culture, social divisions and inequalities on policing. Whilst the curriculum is predominantly concerned with policing in England & Wales, the module will explore and reflect upon policing in a range of jurisdictions to develop understanding.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

The module will be taught in a 3 hour slot.

Method of assessment

Proposal for Change Report 1500 words: 30%)
Exam – 2 hours: 70%

Indicative reading

• Brown, J. (ed) (2014) The Future of Policing Routledge
• Bowling, B. and Sheptycki, J. 2011. Global Policing, London Sage
• Cockcroft, T. (2012) Police Culture: Themes and Concepts. London: Routledge
• Lister,S. & Rowe, M. (eds) (2016) Accountability of Policing Oxon: Routlegde
• Newburn, T. (Ed.) 2005. Policing: Key Readings. Cullompton, Willan.
• Reiner, R. 2010. The Politics of the Police, 4th Edition. Oxford University Press.
• Rowe, M. (2011) Introduction to Policing Sage.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Comprehend the theoretical, conceptual, and practical issues in the study of the policing
Demonstrate an understanding of the origins, historical development and contemporary transformation of policing
Critically consider the impact of organisational cultures, social divisions and inequalities on policing
Appreciate the complex nature of the police role and functions, and the factors that influence police effectiveness and performance.
Demonstrate critical reflection in developing alternative policing provision
Understand the complex nature of police accountability, governance and legitimacy

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