SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3L423121
Module Leader Katy Proctor
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally a level 1 (e.g. Criminology and Criminal Justice) and Level 2 criminology module (e.g. Crime and Society) or equivalent

Summary of Content

The most far-reaching reform of policing in Scotland culminated on 1 st April 2013 with the amalgamation of the previously-existing eight Scottish territorial forces into a single police organisation: the Police Service of Scotland ('Police Scotland' for short). Police Scotland adopted the motto of 'Keeping People Safe', with a commitment to improve the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities in Scotland. Around the world the police play a diverse and complicated role in societies, but a key issue is the formal maintenance of order. Evidence suggests, however, that the public are likely to be much more sceptical nowadays of what the police can achieve in terms of 'maintaining law and order' and also critical of their interactions with representatives of the police. This module aims to introduce students to a broad range of the literature on police and policing and provide an opportunity to investigate key aspects of the subject in-depth. It will allow for the development of a critical understanding of the criminological and socio-legal perspectives involved in analysing law and order, as well as contemporary policy issues by focussing on the changing nature and role of policing, and the relationship between the police and the public in general, and key social groups (as defined by age, gender, class, and ethnicity) in particular. It will encourage students to make connections between broad theoretical issues and the body of empirical research that exists on policing and the maintenance of social order through various policing mechanisms - contemporary and historical - as well as local, national and international/global. The module is suitable for students with an interest in both the theoretical questions related to policing (social order; cooperation and compliance; coercion; the role of the state; private policing; international policing; and for students with an interest in the policy and practice of policing at the local, national and international level); and also the practical implementation of policing at various levels. This module incorporates aspects of PRME-related issues such as individual and institutional responsibility and accountability; ethics and values; gender; and human rights.


The syllabus will be divide into four key areas: -360 1. Policing in an Historical and Comparative Perspective (e.g. models of policing; the birth and development of the police; policing in the 20 th century; policing in the new millennium; Policing in Scotland after the 2013 merger) 2. The Context of Policing (e.g. the Police as an organisation; police cultures; police powers) 3. Doing Policing: the role and function of the police (e.g. preventing and reducing crime; community policing; policing public order; policing organised crime; policing terrorism) 4. Contemporary Issues in Policing (e.g. police legitimacy; police accountability; policing ethnic minority communities; police ethics; police deviance policing and the media).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:" Demonstrate a critical understanding of 'policing' (as opposed to the police) at the local, national and international level." Explain the role of the police, both from an historical and contemporary perspective, as well as the constraints, limitations and challenges they face. " Discuss key areas of policing, including the roles and responsibilities of a police service, as well as more specific issues such as policing in relation to age, gender, class, and ethnicity; 'cop cultures' and their impact on policing diverse communities; the policing of white collar and corporate crime; the development of private policing and security/surveillance; and the impact of globalisation on local and national policing." Recognise and reflect upon the limits of evidence in this area (i.e. the lack of research), whilst simultaneously recognising the difficulty of undertaking such research." Reflect on more philosophical issues relating to, for example, what the priorities of the police service should be, how communities should be policed, and how police performance should be measured.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Teaching consists of a mixture of lectures and seminars, with guest lectures being an important feature of delivery. This will allow for contributions from existing and/or former police personnel, providing opportunities for students to benefit from professional expertise and experience: engage with live issues, and seek careers advice. Lectures will introduce students to the key issues and theories under investigation. They will draw on key literature and evidence, but in addition to the guest lecturers mentioned above, scope is given to the practical and research experience of GCU academics who are/have been involved in working with the police in various capacities, most notably in conducting research on the police and key contemporary issues in policing, both at the local, national and international level (e.g. the policing of young people; the use of anti-social behaviour legislation; police legitimacy and accountability; policing schools; police/public partnerships). Seminars are based around students' critical understanding of original sources, which involves a discussion of key readings, both historical and contemporary. For the seminars students are given a guide on critical reading to help them prepare individual contributions and to participate in group discussions. GCULearn plays a vital part in the GSBS learning and teaching strategy as a blended learning tool. The School will ensure that all modules are not only GCULearn-enabled, but also at the cutting edge in developing online learning materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn, ensuring effective student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is normally provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

-284 Banton, M. (1964) The Policeman in the Community, London: Tavistock. Brogden, M. & Ellison (2005) Community Policing: National and International Models and Approaches, Cullompton: Willan. Burke, R.H. (ed) (2004) Hard Cop, Soft Cop: dilemmas and debates in contemporary policing, Cullompton: Willan. Burrows, J., Tarling, R., Mackie, A., Lewis, R. & Taylor, G. (2000) Home Office Research Study 204: Review of police forces' crime recording practices. London: Home Office. Button, M., (2002) Private Policing, Cullompton: Willan. Crawford, A., (2002) Crime and Insecurity, Cullompton: Willan. Donnelly, D. & Scott, K. (2005) Policing Scotland, Cullompton: Willan. Donnelly, D. (2008) Municipal Policing in Scotland, Cullompton: Willan Donnelly, D. (2013) The Scottish Police Officer, Cullompton: Willan. Emsley, C. (1996) 'The origins and development of the Police' in E. McLaughlin & J. Muncie (Eds) Controlling Crime Sage; Open University (Ch.1) HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (2005) Managing Improvement: A Thematic Inspection of Performance Management in the Scottish Police Service, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive. Jason-Lloyd, L., (2002) Introduction to Policing and Police Powers, London: Cavendish. -284 Joyce, P., (1999) Strategic Management for the Public Services, Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Leishman, F. & Mason, P. (2003) Policing and the Media, Cullompton: Willan. Mawby, R. (2002) Policing Images: policing, communication and legitimacy Cullompton: Willan. Newburn, T. and Hayman, S. (2001) Policing, Surveillance and Social Control: CCTV and police monitoring of suspects Cullompton: Willan. Newburn, T. (Ed) (2003) Handbook of Policing, Cullompton: Willan. Newburn, T. (Ed) (2005) Policing: Key Readings, London: Routledge. Newburn, T. and Reiner, R. (2007) 'Policing and the Police' in M. Maguire, R. Morgan, and R. Reiner (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology Oxford University Press, (4 th edition) Oxford: OUP. Rowe, M. (2004) Policing, Race and Racism Cullompton: Willan. Rowe, M. (2007) Policing Beyond MacPherson: issues in policing race and society Devon: Willan. Rowe, M. (2008) Introduction to Policing, Cullompton: Willan. Sheptycki, J.W.E., (2002) In Search of the Transnational Police, London: Ashgate Waddington P (1999) Policing Citizens, London: UCL Press. Wakefield A and Fleming J (2009) The Sage Dictionary of Policing London: Sage Wright, A., (2001) Policing: an introduction to concepts and practice, Cullompton: Willan.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: -360b7 Written and verbal communication skills b7 Time management and planning skills b7 The ability to work productively as part of a group b7 The capacity to collate and present evidence in an appropriate format b7 Competence to evaluate evidence and draw appropriate conclusions b7 The ability to apply knowledge to relevant case studies b7 Critical thinking

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures 20.00
Assessments 36.00
Seminars 12.00
Independent Learning 132.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Essay 2000 words
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Exam