module specification

SC5002 - Perspectives on Policing (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Perspectives on Policing
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 28%   Group Presentation
Coursework 6%   Journal
Coursework 6%   Peer review
Coursework 60%   Essay 4000 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

The module develops student knowledge of specialised areas of police operations and professional practice.  The module focuses specifically on community policing (policing diverse communities), covert policing (police surveillance methods), specialist policing operations (organised crime, child protection), police analysis and intelligence-gathering, police ethics and culture and police governance (mechanisms for oversight and accountability).

Module aims

The module aims to:

  1. explore the operational challenges and ethical dilemmas inherent in specialist police operations
  2. examine particular aspects of specialist policing in detail from both practical and academic viewpoints
  3. analyse the effectiveness of governance in relation to specialist policing operations
  4. compare and contrast different perspectives in relation to policing priorities.
  5. To develop student communication and team working skills.
  6. Improve critical analytical thinking for real world problems.


The module familiarises students with the practicalities of specialist policing by reviewing different perspectives on a range of policing interventions.  This involves exploring the development of law and procedures in a variety of specialist areas.  The module examines ethical dilemmas and the ways in which they are confronted and resolved as well as the issues of human rights and governance involved in specialist policing.  The module also discusses the overlap between policing and community safety on the one hand and policing and intelligence services on the other.

Learning and teaching

Teaching sessions consist of a series of lectures and seminar group sessions in which students are encouraged to explore the practical, legislative and ethical complexities of specialist policing and its management.  Students draw upon recent case studies and examine actual operational scenarios.  Former police operatives and other specialists provide professional insight through guest lectures.  Module materials will be made available on Blackboard and opportunities for personal development planning are provided in seminar contexts. In addition, as part of the group work assessment students will take responsibility for their own learning. Time can be allocated for group consultation/research sessions during seminar period with tutor feedback.

The last three sessions will consist of presentations from specialists in the field and a session of formative feedback.

Students are expected to undertake 7 hours of independent study per week.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. analyse and evaluate measures introduced to protect the fundamental rights of those subject to specialist policing operations, weighing the benefits and potential weaknesses of legislative and procedural protections.
  2. distinguish between the strategic and tactical approaches within specialist areas of policing
  3. critically evaluate the academic and open source data relating to one area of specialist policing
  4. describe and criticise the evolving governance structures in place within specialist police operations, including under exam conditions.

Assessment strategy

The Group assignment presentation will provide students with an opportunity to research a real world policing problem from an area specified in the module description. As a group they will be required to formulate a strategy to research an area of policing specific to their scenario, paying particular care to learning outcomes 1,2 & 3.
The essay requires students to analyse and evaluate a specialist area of policing operations (learning outcomes 1,3 & 4).


Brogden, M. and Nijhar, P. (2005)  Community Policing: international concepts and practice, London:Routledge
Bryant, R and Bryant S. (2016) Blackstone’s Handbook for Policing Students. Oxford  University Press.
Harfield, C., Grieve , J.,  MacVean, A. and Phillips, D. (eds.) (2008) The Handbook of Intelligence Policing: consilience, crime control and community safety, Oxford:Oxford University Press
Hoyle, C. (2000) Negotiating Domestic Violence: police, criminal justice and victims, Oxford:Oxford University Press
Miller, D. (2012) Policing the Internet: current controversies, London:Greenhaven Press (forthcoming)
Neyroud, P. and Beckley, A. (2001) Policing Ethics and Human Rights, Cullompton:Willan
Ratcliffe, J. (2008) Intelligence Led Policing, London:Routledge
Sheptycki, J. (2011)  Transnational Crime and Policing  (forthcoming)

Policing: a journal of policy and practice