Policing and Society (Critical
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Miss Emma Thomas
Overall aims and purpose
This module seeks to demonstrate a critical insight into policing and society. The course
will discuss the history and development of policing throughout the 19th and 20th centuries,
including the public police, private policing and community policing. The module will also
examine police governance and accountability associated with different policing styles in
late modern Britain. The effectiveness of the (state) police in their crime prevention is
assessed through a comparative evaluation of ‘global’ policing systems.
The module looks closely at the historical development of the police organisation, its
characteristics and dynamics, police specialisms, such as crime investigation, intelligence-
led policing, undercover policing, and paramilitary policing. It will explore key problems in
policing - such as culture, discrimination and corruption, and the mechanisms for
accountability and control. It will examine the rebirth and rise of private and other forms
of plural policing, as well as the theoretical lenses used to understand the functions and
purposes of policing.
-Police Occupational Subcultures
-Procedural justice and police legitimacy
-Covert and Undercover Policing
-The Commodification of Policing
-Transnational and Cross-Border Policing
-Policing different communities
-Structures of Security – Surveillance and Architecture
Threshold BE ABLE TO: To describe the contemporary debates on policing and explain some of the main theoretical perspectives on policing and appreciate the significance of this to the processes of criminal justice
Good BE ABLE TO: Examine and evaluate theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues, examine contemporary policing with relation to ‘race,’ gender, crime and law; read and evaluate a range of appropriate literature and material, and incorporate personal insights and observations.
Excellent BE ABLE TO: Critically analyze key theoretical and conceptual issues, and make connections between criminology and other disciplines, for e.g. history and law to the study of policing and society, as well as present material in a way that serves to support the arguments being advanced and to bring different/original modes of thought to this module.
nau Dysgu / Learning Outcomes :
Ability to assess complex policing issues from a variety of viewpoints
Ability to explore a range of historical, political and contemporary issues relating to
policing and policing policy
Ability to identify and critically evaluate theoretical perspectives on policing
Ability to discuss contexts in which policing takes place and the debates around topics
such as the existence and influence of police cultures on routine policing and the complex
nature of police accountability
Ability to appreciate the real fragmented, global context of contemporary policing
Ability to critically evaluate developments in governance, risk and globalisation and their
relations to modern policing and the delivery of security and the major developments and
debates surrounding modern policing
Teaching and Learning Strategy
- 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.
- Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
- 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
- Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in
Subject specific skills
- the main forms of sentence and alternatives; the governance, roles and structure of the agencies involved; and offenders' experiences of adjudication and sentence
- representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, new media, in official reports and in public opinion
- how to develop a reflective approach and a critical awareness of the values of local cultures and local politics, and of the student's own values, biography and social identity, and how to bring these skills to bear in an informed response to crime and victimisation
- awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
- control, policing, criminal and youth justice, sentencing, and alternative responses
- to offending
- how to make ethically sound judgements in relation to research carried out by others or oneself
- how to use empirical evidence - both quantitative and qualitative - about the distribution of crime, deviance, offending and victimisation of all kinds to explore
- relationships between these and social divisions and social change.
- alternative theoretical approaches within criminology, and contemporary debates about the content and scope of criminology
- different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study, analysis and explanation of crime, deviance, harm and victimisation
- how crime, deviance and victimisation are socially and legally constructed the different sources of information about crime and victimisation, both quantitative and qualitative, and how they are produced - including their location in particular legal, political, social and ideological frameworks - and how they can be interpreted
- trends in crime, harm and victimisation
- different forms of crime and their social organisation
- theoretical and empirical relationships between power, crime and social change, and the impact of globalisation
- relationships of crime, deviance and offending, and victimisation to social divisions such as: age, gender, sexuality, social class, race, ethnicity and religious faith
- the development, role, organisation and governance of efforts to reduce and prevent crime, deviance and harm, and to ensure personal and public safety and security in different locations; the role of the state and non-governmental agencies
- the effectiveness of such measures, and human rights issues in relation to preventive and pre-emptive measures
- the social and historical development of the main institutions involved in crime control in different locations
- the philosophy and politics of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and modes of punishment
- the use of discretion in relation to justice processes, including issues of discrimination and diversity
- governance of criminal and youth justice, and other crime control processes
Awdur / Author
Bl. / Yr
Teitl ayyb / Title etc Lecture 1, Nature and Functions of Policing: Additional Reading:
Banton, M. (1964) The Policeman in the Community. London: Tavistock. Bittner, E. (1970) The Functions of Police in Modern Society. National Institute of Mental Health
Brogden, M. and Nijhar. P. (2005) Community Policing: national and international models and approaches. Devon: Willan.
Mawby R.I (2000) ‘Core policing: the seductive myth,’ in Leishman, K. et al, (Eds.) Core Issues in Policing, (2nd Ed.) (pages 107-123).
Lecture 2, History of Policing: Additional Reading:
P. Cohen, (1979) 'Policing the working class city', in: NDC/CSE, Capitalism and the Rule of Law, London: Hutchinson (pages 20 36)
Critchley, T.A. (1978) A History of Police in England and Wales, London: Constable
Emsley C. (2003) ‘The birth and development of the police,’ in: Newburn, T. (ed.) Handbook of Polcing. London: Collumpton ch.4;
Lecture 3, Police Occupational Cultures: Additional Reading:
Chan, J. (1996) Changing Police Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Foster, J. (2003) ‘Police cultures’, in T. Newburn, (ed) Handbook of Policing. Devon: Willan Skolnick, J. (1966) Justice Without Trial: Law Enforcement in a Democratic Society. New York: Wiley Press.
Loftus, B. (2009) Police Culture in a Changing World, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Lecture 4, Police Accountability: Additional Reading
Goldsmith, A. (2010) Policing’s New Visibility, The British Journal of Criminology, 50 (5) 914-934 Neyroud P. (2003) ‘Policing and ethics,’ in Newburn (ed.) Handbook of Policing Devon: Willan. (Chapter 23).
Sandu, A. and Haggerty, K. (2015) ‘Policing on camera’, Theoretical Criminology, Online First (15/12/15).
Smith, G. (2009) Why don’t more people complain against the police? European Journal of Criminology 6:3, 249-266. Wells, H (2015) ‘Grey areas and fine lines: negotiating operational independence in the era of the police and crime commissioner’ Safer Communities, 14 (4): 193-202.
Lecture 5, Undercover Policing: Additional Reading
Brodeur J.P. (2002) ‘Undercover policing in Canada: wanting what is wrong’. Crime, Law and Social Change 18 (10): 105–306 Bunyan T (1977) The History and Practice of Political Police in Britain. London: Quartet.
HMIC (2014) An Inspection of Undercover Policing in England and Wales. Available at: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/wp-content/uploads/an-inspection-of-undercover-policing-in-england-and-wales.pdf.
Loftus, B. and O’Neil, M. ‘ (2013) Policing and the surveillance of the marginal’, Theoretical Criminology, 17 (4): 437-454
Loftus, B. and Goold, B. (2012) Covert surveillance and the invisibilities of policing, Criminology and Criminal Justice 12 (3): 275-289.
Marx, G (1988) Undercover: Police Surveillance in America. California: University of California Press.
Lecture 6, The Commodification of Policing: Additional Reading:
Crawford, A (2003) ‘The pattern of policing in the UK: policing beyond the police,’ in Newburn, T. (ed.) Handbook of Policing. Devon: Willan (chapter 7).
Dupont, B. (2004) ‘Security in the age of networks,’ Policing and Society 14(1): 76-91;
Gill, M and Hart, J. (1997) Exploring investigative policing: A study of private detectives in Britain. British Journal of Criminology 37(4): 549–567. Hansen-Lofstrand, C., Loftus, B. and Loader, I. (2015) ‘Doing dirty work: stigma and esteem in the private security industry’, European Journal of Criminology. Online first, November 2015. Johnston, L. (1996) `What is vigilantism?' British Journal of Criminology 36 (2): 220-36.
Johnston L. (1992) The Rebirth of Private Policing, London: Routledge. (Chapters 3 and 4).
Lecture 7, Border Policing: Additional Reading
Aas, K.F. (2011) ‘Crimmigrant’ bodies and bona fide travellers: surveillance, citizenship and global governance. Theoretical Criminology, 15 (3): 331-346. Bowling, B. and Sheptycki, J. (2012) Global Policing London: Sage
Loftus, B. (2015) ‘Policing assemblages and the vulnerable border’, European Journal of Policing Studies, 3 (2): 238-254.
Pickering, S. and Ham, J. (2014) Hot pants at the border: sorting sex work from trafficking’, British Journal of Criminology, 54, 2-19.
Theodore, N. (2011) ‘Policing borders’. Social Justice 38 (1/2): 90-100.
Zureik, E. and Salter, M. (2005) Global Surveillance and Policing: Borders, Security, Identity. (Eds.) Devon: Willan
Lecture 8, Problems of Police Culture 1: Additional Reading
Fielding, N. (1994) Cop canteen culture,’ in Newburn, T. and Stanko, B. (eds.) Just Boys Doing Business, London: Routledge. (pages 46-63)
Heidensohn, F. (2005) Women in Control? In: Newburn, T. (ed.) Policing: key readings, Devon: Willan. (pages 751-60).
Walklate, S. (2000) ‘Equal Opportunities and the Future of Policing’, in Leishman, F., Loveday, B. and Savage, S.P. (eds), Core Issues in Policing. 2nd Edition. Essex: Longman.
Lecture 9, Problems of Police Culture 2: Additional Reading
Cashmore, E. and McLaughlin, E (1991) Out of Order? Policing Black People. London: Routledge
Holdaway, S. (1996) The Racialization of British Policing. London: Palgrave MacMillan
Holdaway, S (1997) . ‘Responding to Racialized Divisions within the workforce – The Experience of black and Asian police Officers in England’. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 20 (1): 69-90.
Loftus, B. (2009) Police Culture in a Changing World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Especially Chapter 5).
MacPherson, Sir W. (1999) The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry, Cmnd Paper No 4262-i. HMSO
Lecture 10, Security and Surveillance: Additional Reading
Lyon, D. (2003) Surveillance after September 11, London: Polity Press.
Parmar, A. (2011) Stop and Search in London: Counter-terrorist or counter-productive? Policing and Society 21(4): 369-382.
Pantazis, C & Pemberton, S (2009) “From the ‘old’ to the ‘new suspect’ community: examining the impacts of recent UK counter-terrorist legislation. British Journal of Criminology 49 (5): 646-666. Zedner, L. (2000) ‘The pursuit of security’, in: Hope, T. and Sparks, R. (Eds.) Crime, Risk and Insecurity: Law and Order in Everyday Life and Political Discourse. London: Routledge.
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- L436: BSc Professional Policing (Pre-join) year 3 (BSC/PP)