module specification

SC6002 - Frameworks in Investigation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Frameworks in Investigation
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 25%   Seen in-class test
Coursework 25%   Essay
Group Presentation 50%   Group Project
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

This module will build on student knowledge of policing with regard to criminal investigations. The module will develop an insight into a range of investigations, from volume crime to serious and organised crime, as well as examining investigative skills (e.g. investigative interviewing, crime scene examination) and the wide range of support services essential to successful investigative work (covert & intelligence led policing methods, forensic support, CPS). Key legislation impacting on the conduct of investigations will also be critically examined (PACE, RIPA, CPIA, HRA etc) and an examination of court procedure.

The module will focus on the investigative process and the practical aspects of investigations. It will also examine the legislation affecting investigations and often the miscarriages of justice that gave rise to them. Students will be involved in practical and group work in formative and summative assessments.

Module aims

The module aims to:

  1. Critically examine legislation impacting on criminal investigations.
  2. Explore the process of a criminal investigation from commission of the offence, through to court appearance.
  3. Analyse the ‘crime control v due process’ models of Criminal Justice in depth, using acquired knowledge.
  4. Examine the challenges and constraints of criminal investigations within diverse communities, including the concept of accountability.


The syllabus will cover:

  • investigative interviewing,
  • crime scene examination
  • covert & intelligence led policing methods,
  • forensic support, Key legislation impacting on the conduct of investigations will also be critically examined (PACE, RIPA, CPIA, HRA etc)
  • learning from key recent police enquiries.
  • practical investigative skills

Learning and teaching

Predominantly teaching will consist of a series of lectures and seminar group sessions. Students will examine a range of ethical issues and constraints in investigating criminal offences. Students will examine case studies, and gain practical experience of interviewing and develop an understanding of the complexities of formulating an investigative strategy based on a real case.
Module leaders/lecturers will have a broad investigative background and where appropriate professional guest speakers will bring a fresh perspective.
All materials will be made available on line through the Blackboard platform. It is anticipated that 6-7 hours a week private study will also be required, as well as some collaboration with others in the group. Individual tutorial sessions will also be encouraged by module leaders.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Develop communication skills by practical experience of investigative interviewing both as a suspect and interviewer, in accordance with current legislation, and peer reviewed.
  2. Evaluate responses to investigations ethically and critically and in accordance with current legislation.
  3. Critically review developments in policing practice as a result of enquires into criminal investigations, e.g. McPherson Report, Op Herne, Op Yew tree, Hillsborough Enquiry.
  4. Formulate and defend an investigative strategy from the outset of a criminal enquiry.

Assessment strategy

The first class test (1 hour, seen) will require students to critically evaluate a single piece of legislation impacting on the criminal investigative process (learning outcome 2). A second test will be via an essay (1500 words), this requires students to conduct a critical investigation into a miscarriage of justice or review of police procedure (learning outcome 3).
The final assessment will be a group task, students will have to formulate an investigative strategy that unfolds in a series of ‘paper feeds’, in which the group will rationalise their investigative decision making process (learning outcome 1 & 4).


Andrew, C., Aldrich, R. and Wark, W. (eds.) (2009) Secret Intelligence: a reader, London:Routledge
Brogden, M. and Nijhar, P. (2005)  Community Policing: international concepts and practice, London:Routledge
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
Miller, D. (2012) Policing the Internet: current controversies, London:Greenhaven Press (forthcoming)
Newburn, T,  Williamson, T,   Wright,A. (2007) Handbook of Criminal Investigation, Cullumpton, Willan.
Neyroud, P. and Beckley, A. (2001) Policing Ethics and Human Rights, Cullompton:Willan
Ratcliffe, J. (2008) Intelligence Led Policing, London:Routledge

Policing: a journal of policy and practice