BASS Social Anthropology and Criminology

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Policing and the Police

Unit code CRIM20051
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course provides students with a critical, research-based appreciation of the police, police-work and policing.

Indicative content: (1) Introduction to the course; (2) Police reform; (3) Discretion, discrimination, diversity; (4) Understanding police powers; (5) Street policing; (6) Police occupational culture; (7) Covert policing; (8) Police misconduct & complaints; (9) Public order policing & human rights; (10) Course overview and assessment preparation.


The unit aims to (1) introduce students to the area of police, police-work and policing; and, (2) provide students with a critical understanding of research as applied to these topics.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to: (1) understand the contested dynamics of police-work and policing; (2) appreciate classic and contemporary research on policing; (3) develop a clear understanding of the nature of contemporary debates on policing and the police.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 21/22 will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide a blended offer of the best in online and on-campus teaching that includes: (1) a subject hour used for a range of exercises and activities; (2) high quality learning materials; (3) a tutorial; (4) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.

Employability skills

(i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) rapidly and thoroughly review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present arguments in a variety of written formats and to a strict word limit, (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) the mock exam essay. In addition to individual marks, class-level feedback will be given on the exam.

Recommended reading

Bowling, B, Reiner, R. and Sheptycki, J. (2019) The Politics of the Police, Oxford: Oxford University Press is an excellent text and  you are advised to obtain a copy. The library also has earlier editions of The Politics of the Police.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 13
Independent study hours
Independent study 40

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
William Hebenton Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of 35-40 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands 12-13 hours of study per week consisting of (i) teacher-led activities and sessions, (ii) preparation, required and further reading. Further guidance will be given regarding study budgeting on this and other course units.




Students will be provided with a preliminary examination paper at the end of teaching (mid-December) containing eight questions. When candidates sit their examination in January, three of these questions will have been removed from the Examination Paper and they will be required to answer three of the remaining five questions. SUBJECT TO COVID19 DELIVERY. SO ANY EXAM WILL BE ONLINE WITH AN EXTENDED COMPLETION

Restricted to: BA (Criminology) and LLB (Law with Criminology) students for which this subject is compulsory, Law School students, BA (Econ) students (all pathways) and BA Social Sciences (BASS). 

This course is available to incoming study abroad students university wide.

Pre-requisites: None.

See Law School timetable


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