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The University of Southampton

CRIM6012 Contemporary Policing

Module Overview

This module provides students with an overview of the historical origins and development of policing, with particular reference to the concept of 'new policing', the nature of contemporary police forces, and their organizational structures and working cultures. The module provides students with a systematic overview of the origins and development of key theoretical perspectives in police studies and locates the police within a broader framework of policing, security, regulation and governance. Contemporary Policing emphasises the diversity of the policing role and draws upon a variety of contexts in which policing is discussed and analysed. Students will examine operational policing through a series of case studies that explore ways in which police manage crime. The module provides opportunities for the development of generic and transferable knowledge and skills associated with studying, independent learning and research.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the history and development of policing.
  • Identify and evaluate ways in which police 'manage crime'.
  • Appreciate how issues related to discretion shape police decision-making.
  • Critically evaluate the structures and processes of police accountability mechanisms.
  • Apply an understanding of modern policing to evaluate contemporary law and order issues.
  • Appreciate the diversity of the police role and the consequences of that for policing.
  • Discuss key concepts and issues in policing, crime and criminal justice.


1. Historical origins and development of policing 2. Theoretical perspectives 3. Regulation and governance 4. Discretionary decision-making 5. Structures of accountability 6. Diversity of the Policing Role 7. Managing Crime – Volume Crime 8. Managing Crime – Sexual Assault 9. Managing Crime – Anti-Social Behaviour 10. Managing organized and serious crime 11. Risk Management 12. Policing after the Police

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Students will be provided with a full reading list, organised on the basis of individual blocks of work. They will be expected to undertake individual reading and prepare fully for each session. Learning will occur through analysis and discussion of the readings and of contemporary debate. Students will be expected to make themselves aware of topical criminal justice activity (e.g. government policy decision-making; news stories and contentious debates) and be prepared to discuss and summarise in seminars. Tutors will advise students on the planning of assessments and provide detailedfeedback on assessments. A two hour block will be used for delivery of material; this will take the form of a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops

Independent Study188
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Newburn, T. (ed.) (2008). A Handbook of Policing. 

Reiner, R. (2010). The Politics of the Police. 

McLaughlin, E. (2007). The New Policing. 

Wakefield, A & Fleming, J (2009). The Sage Dictionary of Policing. 

Maguire, M; Morgan, R and Reiner, R (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. 

Felson, M. (2010). Crime and Everyday Life. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Choice of presentation of essay  (10 minutes) 20%
Research proposal  (4000 words) 80%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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