Accessibility statement

Policing & The Police - SPY00011H

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Charlie Lloyd
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module explored the key themes and issues associated with the British police service, including consideration of the role of the police in the criminal justice system. Using a mixture of lectures, workshops and seminar activities students are introduced to policy and practice of the police service. The module would be of benefit to students studying any social science discipline.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

The police hold a particular fascination for all of us - whether it is through TV series or popular fiction, the British police are culturally symbolic. To some the police represent positive social values of fairness and justice through their role as upholders of the law. For others the police have a less positive image - one that can be sexist and racist in its pursuit of its goals. The module will encourage students to adopt a critical understanding of key issues and policies in relation to contemporary policing including addressing questions such as:

  • Who polices the police?
  • Are the police racist?
  • How do different styles of policing impact on crime?
  • What do we mean by 'cop culture', discretion and discrimination in relation to policing?
  • Why does it seem so difficult to reform the police?

The module takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the police, including the historical, social, political, legal and cultural aspects of policing. Students will also have the opportunity to apply these themes to specific types of crime that they are interested in.


Module learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students who have attended the lectures and workshops and also undertaken complementary reading will:

  • Understand the historical context within which contemporary policing has developed
  • Be in a position to analyse theories and policies relevant to policing and the police
  • Be able to reflect critically on trends and practices in policing
  • Have an in depth understanding of policing in relation to one particular type of crime


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Essay questions are designed to encourage students to develop a clear argument drawing on appropriate evidence and to use material from across the module content. Students may choose to explore policing in relation to a specific crime of their choice. Support for assessment is provided throughout the module including an essay writing session mid-term, feedback on an essay plan before the end of term and group discussions relating to specific aspects of the tasks.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

In addition to informal feedback you receive when talking to tutors in seminars or through the discussion space, you will receive the following types of feedback for your assessments in this module:

You will receive written prompt feedback using a Marking Matrix within four weeks. You can discuss your feedback with your personal supervisor or module tutor during their Office Hours (listed within the SPSW Staff Office Hours space on Yorkshare).


Indicative reading

  • Newburn, T. (2003) Handbook of policing, Cullompton, Willan
  • Newburn, T. (2004) Policing: key readings, Cullompton, Willan
  • Reiner, R. (2000) Politics of the Police (3rd ed), Oxford, OUP
  • Newburn, T. (Sept. 2008) Handbook of policing (2nd ed), Cullompton, Willan
  • Rowe, M. (2008) Introduction to policing, London, Sage

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.