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Module SXY-3023:
Organised Crime and Counter-Te

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Tim Holmes

Overall aims and purpose

This module will introduce students to the specific challenges posed to policing by radicalisation, terrorism, and organised crimes. It will begin by introducing key concepts and legal provisions specific to policing terrorism and organised crime, highlighting the additional power available to police services in these areas. It will also highlight the debates around increased police powers and attempts to disrupt and prevent major crimes and incidents. The range of specialist units supporting police services will be discussed. The module will provide some historical context to the development of 21st century organised crime and terrorism.

Course content

Indicative content: -Introduction of key concepts and their historical context – terrorism, organised crime, radicalisation -Counter-terrorism legislation, Prevent, etc -Increased police powers and controversies – surveillance, suspicious financial activities report -Organised crime, terrorism and links to ‘street’ crime – county lines, knife crime, gang activities -Organised crime-terrorism nexus

Assessment Criteria


A- to A+ Assessment is based on the degree of engagement with academic literature and student's ability to summarise and critically analyse theory. For an excellent grade, there will be extensive engagement with the relevant academic literature; a sophisticated presentation of academic theory and a well developed critical analysis of theory. Students will show an excellent grasp of how theory relates to practice.


D- to D+ Assessment is based on the degree of engagement with academic literature and student's ability to summarise and critically analyse theory. For a threshold grade, engagement with the academic literature is weak; the student's ability to summarise theory will be mainly descriptive; and there will be little critical analysis and understanding of how theory relates to policing practice.


C- to B+ Assessment is based on the degree of engagement with academic literature and student's ability to summarise and critically analyse theory. For a good and very good grade, there will be good engagement with the academic literature, reflected in the use of a wide range of academic sources; the discussion of the academic theory will go beyond mere description and there will be a critical analysis of theory and how it is applied to policing practice.

Learning outcomes

  1. Critically examine the context for counter-terrorism legislation and policies and the debates surrounding them

  2. Review the extensive powers granted to police services and other agencies to disrupt terrorist and organised crime activity

  3. Interrogate overlaps in organisational structure, criminal activity, and supporting activity between organised crime and terrorism

  4. Critically examine key concepts such as organised crime, terrorism and radicalisation and their historical context

  5. Critically review the links between terrorism, organised crime, and ‘street’ crime such as county lines, grooming and gang membership

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Threat Assessment 40
Essay 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Lecture 12
Workshop 24
Private study 164

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • The role of the police constable, its history, and changes over time
  • The context of contemporary policing; police culture; models of policing including community policing, evidence-based policing; the extended police family
  • Crime investigation processes, criminal justice, and complex crimes
  • Crime prevention measures and their effectiveness as well as human rights issues in relation to preventive and pre-emptive measures
  • How crime, deviance, harm, and victimisation are socially and legally constructed; the different sources of information about crime and victimisation, how they are produced, including their location in particular legal, political, social and ideological frameworks, and how they can be interpreted
  • Trends in crime and victimisation; different forms of crime and their social organisation including organized crime; e-crime, and terrorism
  • Different theoretical approaches to the study, analysis and explanation of crime, deviance, victimization and policing; relationships between crime and social change and the impact of globalization
  • Competence and confidence in using evidence in policing including identifying and deploying a range of research strategies including qualitative and quantitative methods and the use of published data sources and to select and apply appropriate strategies for specific research problems
  • Recognise individuals' vulnerabilities and situations of risk (to self and others)
  • Understanding the role of strategic planning, mentoring, and leadership in policing
  • Ability to locate, manage, and analyse secondary data, as well as generating and evaluating empirical evidence
  • Appreciate the complexity and diversity of the ways in which crime is constituted, represented and dealt with; and making reasoned arguments
  • Assess the merits of competing theories relevant to crime, victimisation and policing as well as other responses to crime and deviance
  • Assess the merits and diversity of objectives of competing responses to crime and deviance, including the protection of human rights and its implications for policing

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: