criminal-investigation-570-320

BSc single honours Criminal Investigation 2020/21

Year of entry

Criminal investigation is a central part of police activity, and one only has to look at the news every day to see how it has an effect on the public perception of the police and their accountability and legitimacy.

This programme allows you to study the historical rise of the detective, from the early days of the new police into the modern era. The increase in crime, and the manner in which crime is committed provides very different challenges to the detectives of the past. Students will have the opportunity to critically analyse how the police service has met some of these challenges by exploring high profile cases that demonstrate how criminal investigations can fail due to systematic or individual error, and equally, good examples of police practice which demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism.

You will also seek to understand the current context within which detectives work, including a national shortage of detectives, government austerity measures and the rise in technology and complex criminality.

Studying criminal investigation gives you an exciting opportunity to critically analyse aspects of police investigations from a range of perspectives and to understand the way in which crimes receive different levels of response depending upon their perceived seriousness. For example, a high volume crime (such as a theft) is likely to be investigated by a constable trained to investigate at that level, whilst a homicide is likely to be investigated by a team of trained and experienced specialists, headed by a highly trained senior investigator. Each criminal investigation has its own uniqueness in terms of what happened, what forensic material exists, who witnessed it, what other evidence exists, and it is the role of a criminal investigator to objectively investigate crimes. But what is the measurement of success in these endeavours? Is it locking up criminals? Is it supporting victims? Is it finding out the truth? This programme attempts to explore the many different approaches to both proactive and reactive criminal investigations.

Students will adopt a critical approach to criminal investigations, exploring police effectiveness in historic sexual and homicide investigations, public protection, and covert operations.  Further, there will be the opportunity to explore what the research evidence tells us about the practice, and relate it to ongoing debates about effectiveness, objectivity, bias, decision making, miscarriages of justice, ethics and evidence based policing.

This programme has been developed from the former Policing (Criminal Investigation) degree which formed part of the Policing Suite. Following the move toward the College of Policing Professional Policing Degree, the criminal investigation pathway has been replaced with this new criminal investigation degree. Where the old pathway was aimed at individuals wanting to become police officers, the new criminal investigation degree provides an opportunity to study an interesting aspect of police activity whilst allowing students to consider occupations in the criminal justice arena and beyond, rather than just policing.  However, should students decide they wish to join the police, this degree represents the third route into policing as a degree level award. If successfully recruited into policing, the student would be required to undertake a diploma in policing within the first two years of their police service.

 

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

The BSc Criminal Investigation degree is composed of a range of criminal investigation focussed modules which will provide you with an excellent grounding in investigative practice.

Once you have completed your first year modules, designed to provide you with a good grounding in key aspects of the policing function, years two and three allow you to become more focused on specific aspects of criminal investigation. Core modules relate to aspects of Investigating Crime, Evidence, Investigative Interviewing, Human Decision-Making, Major Crime Investigation, and Investigating Sexual and Domestic Abuse. You then have access to an array of optional modules from Policing, Criminology and Forensic Investigation disciplines which will allow you to gain a broader understanding of multidisciplinary aspects of the investigative process.  Options include: Human Rights, Cybercrime, Terrorism and Political Violence, Transnational Crime, Expert Evidence and Mental Health and Violence modules.

Threaded within the core modules is a consideration of the aspects of police function that relate to the National Intelligence Model, including how investigation of specific crimes link to the intelligence function, and the use of covert strategies within criminal investigations. In addition, in your final year of study, you will conduct independent research leading to your final 8,000 word dissertation. For this module you will choose a specific aspect of criminal investigation that you find interesting, which you will study in depth with the support of an academics supervisor, allowing you to gain expertise in a specific area.

Other information

As access to criminal justice facilities can be restricted due to security issues, we hire a range of guest lecturers to come to the University and provide sessions on their area of expertise. These lecturers are professionals who are currently working in the field and these professionals often go beyond their lecturing remit to support students in accessing information, gaining work experience or giving careers advice.

Core Modules:

Year One

Each Module is 20 credits

Crime: Representations and Realities

The aims of the module are to introduce students to key concepts relating to crime, crime control and the social construction of criminal problems in order to establish a solid foundation for their future studies. As well as seeking to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the relationship between crime and society, it equips them with key skills to critically evaluate different sources of knowledge about crime and crime control, thus enabling them to assess competing claims about crime as a social problem.

Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

This module prepares students for the rest of their studies as it will allow them to understand what the Criminal Justice System (CJS) is, what it looks like in England and Wales, and allow them to understand basic theories and concepts underlying it. It highlights the role of the police within, as well as its multi-agency set up. Students will learn about the main organisations of the CJS, including the legislative framework they work within, and will introduce them to core issues relating to CJS (such as equality and diversity. As the work of the CJS in current times is underpinned by evidence-based practice, students will also be introduced to research methods and their application.

Introducing Policing

The aim of this module is to provide students with a basic knowledge and understanding of policing in the UK. The module will examine the British Police, looking within the service at the functions, roles, and duties of staff and officers. The module will explore the history of policing including the concept and principles of ‘policing by consent’. There will be a consideration of police powers and relevant national policing strategies along with an examination of legitimacy and police accountability. The module aims to examine the professional role of the police and in doing so will consider the police code of conduct, professional standards and police misconduct. 

Law, Policing and the Police

The aim of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of key principles and concepts relating to the police role, within legal, political and social contexts. It also aims to present students with an understanding of the various organisational forms that policing takes within the extended police family, different functions and strategies of policing and the legitimacy of police use of powers in different policing contexts. The module further aims to provoke thought, encourage reflective learning practices, challenge preconceptions surrounding police practice and in so doing, introduce students to the challenges of police decision making.

Introducing Crime Scene Investigation

Crime scenes are sources of evidence and intelligence. The aims of the module are to provide students with the key concepts underpinning the role of Crime Scene Investigation, selected history, and the theories which support this important subject. The module begins by examining the role of the CSI (and some other scene attending personnel, such as police officers) and moves on to examine the basic theories associated with crime scene investigation

Science and Crime

The module aims to introduce students to key scientific principles, evidence based research and practice that relate to both the prevention and detection of crime. The historical development of the use of science will be explored, developing into the modern evidence based policing paradigm. Various aspects of police practice will be explored in order to discover what evidence exists, what is currently being utilised, and what new and emerging research is adding to the field of knowledge. The module will also introduce students to the basics of crime scene forensics and digital policing (including digital forensics) and the scientific techniques utilised in each, as well criminological theories and how they can be applied to policing practices, procedures and research.

Year Two

Each Module is 20 credits

Human Decision Making: Theory and Practice

The aim of this module is to develop students’ understanding of issues surrounding multi-disciplinary approaches to the CJS which they were introduced to during Level 4 of their studies. This module aims to offer students opportunity to explore the link between theory and practice by offering a multi-disciplinary approach to human factors in decision making. The module aims to address two key areas: 1) insight into human factor psychology and decision making in theory; and, 2) provide an understanding of decision making in practice.

Evidence Relating to Criminal Investigation

The main aims of the module are to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of evidential issues and how these relate to police investigations in the UK.  The module requires students to become acquainted with legislation and current case law. In addition, students will acquire a knowledge and understanding of the legal process both pre and post-trial.

Investigating Crime

The module aims to explore discrete aspects of criminal investigation practice in the UK, having first outlined the development of practice through the lens of the art, craft and science debate. The traditional dichotomy of proactive and reactive investigations will be critically analysed, and the extent to which covert and other strategies can be utilised within each type of investigation will be critically analysed. Aspects of detective training and development will also be discussed as will high profile inquiries, miscarriages of justice, and failed investigations that acted as drivers for change.

Investigative Interviewing

This module aims to consider the umbrella term of investigative interviewing as it encompasses the interviews of witnesses, victims and suspects. Policing has undergone significant change in the investigative process, following criticism of the manner in which evidence was obtained, in each of the spheres identified. Pressure was brought to bear on the police to improve the situation primarily because of its links to investigative bad practice and injustices. From the early 1990’s police investigative interviewing has undergone significant change with the use of psychological principles and research to complement interview practice. In the sphere of children’s evidence, for instance, the ABE guidelines were created and the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 enacted to improve the potential for such evidence to be placed before a court. The Cognitive interview and latterly the enhanced cognitive interview were also utilised for witness interviews. Finally, in relation to suspect interviewing. the PEACE model of interviewing was developed, and this will be explored in detail.

Year Three

20 credit modules

Major Crime Investigation

This module critically examines the police investigation of major crimes, particularly in the form of homicide. It brings together student knowledge of policing and general crime investigation and develops their ability to critically analyse all aspects of major crime investigative practice. Drawing upon published research and high profile miscarriages of justice, as well as current and newsworthy major crime investigations, the students will be required to understand the processes, procedures and rationale that sit behind such important police investigations. There will also be critical discussion of how this process can be sustained in the austerity paradigm, and the ongoing considerations regarding privatisation of certain police functions.

Investigating Sexual and Domestic Abuse

This module critically examines the police investigation of rape (as well as other serious sexual assaults), and domestic abuse. It enhances student knowledge in relation to previous studies of criminal investigation, by developing their ability to critically analyse all aspects of the police response to rape. Similarly the same critical analysis will take place in relation to the police response to domestic abuse. It is no surprise that the police response to both of these types of crimes has attracted much criticism in the past. This module will analyse to what extent the police have improved, and discuss how they conduct their modern investigations in the wider criminal justice setting, and in partnership with other agencies. All content will be discussed against the backdrop of research relating to sexual and violent offending, case studies and case law. Some criminal justice practitioners will be invited to speak in order to add a practical element to the module.

Gangs and Serious Youth Offending

This module will consider the youth critically and will build on the Level 5 module Young People and the Youth Justice System. You will learn about how theory and research contribute to the development of initiatives and what the challenges of this are. Focus will be placed upon serious offending and gangs as these are often at the forefront of contemporary policies. Within this context, you will learn to successfully analyse difficult topics and literature and extract needed information.

40 Credit Module

Criminal Investigation Dissertation

The aim of the Individual Study is for students to develop their ability to carry out in-depth research on a specific aspect of Criminal Investigation and the Criminal Justice System, as chosen by the student. Students will identify a specific topic that they wish to study in collaboration with an academic supervisor, produce a research proposal and then carry out in-depth research/review of the literature and sources in order to prepare a dissertation. Students will substantially manage their own learning with the support and advice of their supervisor. 

Optional Modules

All optional modules are 20 credits

There are no optional modules in Year One, Two in Year Two, and One in Year Three. The list of Options is provided below.

Year Two

Mental Health and Violence

The aim of the module is to give students the opportunity to explore the relationship between mental health and violent crime, and how this is responded to by the criminal justice system and other institutions. The module also aims to enable students to demonstrate knowledge of criminological and psychiatric research into the relationship between mental disorder and violent offending. The module also aims to enable students to understand and critically evaluate how this is responded to by the criminal justice system and the forensic mental health system, and the ideologies and practices which are central to the management and treatment of mentally disordered and violent offenders. The key issues and challenges in conducting research into this topic, with the mentally disordered population, and in these institutional settings, will also be discussed.

Introduction to Terrorism and Political Violence

The aims of the module are to provide the opportunity for students to develop a theoretical understanding of the key concepts and dynamics in defining a complicated and dynamic subject arena. Further aims are to provide the opportunity for students to develop an understanding of counter terrorism responses and their links to good practice in policing international and domestic security. To provide the opportunity for students to develop a critical insight into research, theory and practice techniques to assist with theoretically understanding the foundational principles of terrorism studies; and the challenges of management and response.

News Media, Crime and Justice

The aim of the module is to explore the multifaceted relationship between news media, crime and criminal justice. The module will provide students with opportunities to familiarise themselves with key theoretical debates in different areas of news media criminology. More specifically, the module will consider how news media portrayals of crime, criminals, victims and the criminal justice system have changed over time and examine these within their broader social, economic and political context. The module will also explore the connections between news media portrayals of crime and criminal justice policy. Finally, the module will equip students with critical skills relevant to undertaking media analysis from a criminological standpoint.

Accident, Disaster and Terror Scene Investigation

The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of critical incident accident, disaster and terror related investigations by outlining the investigation models, formulating the strategic approaches to be applied and identifying the specialist professionals that may attend the scene ,that do not work within core forensic roles.  Once identified, the module goes on to assess the roles and procedures of these professionals in the wider investigation in addition to the issues arising from this multidisciplinary approach. There is particular focus on the location, recovery and identification of evidence and identification of the cause and manner in which mass disasters and critical incidents of both natural and deliberate origins occur.

Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation

The aim of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of digital crime and the increasingly important requirement for global business and modern society to protect digital assets and activities in cyberspace.  Information Communications Technology (ICT) pervades our everyday lives. The challenge to understand cyber risk and deliver effective and accessible security becomes harder as technology continues to rapidly evolve and our systems become ever more complex. Consequently, the module will explore the threats faced by individuals and organisations; the extent of cybercriminal activities and the techniques and skills required to meet the challenge of digital crime.

Youth, Crime and Justice

The aim of the module is to explore the notion of ‘youth’ in relation to issues of crime, deviancy and criminal justice. The module introduces students to issues of youth in relation to the roles of offender and victim, and explores changing public and political discourse of youth offending and state responses to youth crime and deviancy.

Year Three

Research Informed Policing

This module provides an applied outlook into the utility of research methods within the scope of areas such as ‘What Works’ and ‘Evidence Based Policing’. More specifically, it aims to develop the students’ understanding of Research Informed Policing which sees evidence combined with the practicalities of police work. Students will build on core research methods knowledge acquired in Level 4 (specifically Introduction to the Criminal Justice System) and all other modules where research was presented to underpin theory and practice. Students will utilise this knowledge to gain applied skills in regards to being able to understand and conduct qualitative, as well as quantitative analyses, and in an ethical context.

Cybercrime: Ethical, Professional and Legal Issues

The module aims to allow students to explore the ethical considerations surrounding technology, the roles of professional bodies in the development of careers in public service, industry and commerce, and the ethical obligations of a professional.

International Justice and Human Rights

As the title of this module indicates, this course aims to encourage students to think critically about law and the way in which it is constructed, conceived of and manifested in reality. In order to do so, the module introduces students to the key schools of legal philosophical thought – natural law, positivism, legal realism and so on, and uses the ideas and critiques which flow from these as a platform from which to interrogate law’s bias. In order to provide a more contemporary flavour and feel, students will consider current legal, moral and political issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the war in Iraq, the trial of Saddam Hussein in order to unveil the power dynamics at play. The main aim is to get students to think ‘outside the box’ with regards not only to the question of ‘what is law’, but with regards to the socio-political consequences of misconceptions as to the nature of law. To this end, the module aims to promote a vision and understanding of law which encompasses the social, the political, the moral, and the economic.

Expert and Professional Witnesses

The aim of the module is to familiarise the students with the legal system for England and Wales in order to develop an understanding of the law, structure and processes they will be required to adhere to as a forensic investigator. The module then goes on to explore the roles, responsibilities and scope of lay witnesses, professional witnesses and expert witnesses in forensic investigations and the methods and models that the expert uses to interpret the value of forensic evidence. The module culminates in moot court exercises to build confidence and practical experience and this is preceded by extensive training in communication and transaction theories. Case examples are used to demonstrate key theories where appropriate.

Psychology of Serious and Prolific Offending

The module aims to explore specialist areas of research and application within criminal and forensic psychology, particularly in relation to serious and prolific offending behaviours and ways to address them. The module will critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the featured research and literature and in doing so facilitate students’ development of both subject specific and transferable skills appropriate to the level of study.

Terrorism and Political Violence in the UK

The aim of the module is to provide students with an understanding of domestic threats of terrorism and political violence specific to the United Kingdom. The content will consider domestic historical and contemporary threats and key terrorist organisations and groups over time into contemporary society. The nature, groups, values, goals and modus operandi will be considered in relation to key organisations and groups. The module aims to examine policies, processes and legislation for peace and resolve to the issue of domestic terrorism. The module aims to draw out political dimensions between individual, society and governance in the context of counter-terror policing and security. The module aims to emphasise the importance of the relationships between the police and other counter-terror agencies within broader governmental counter-terror strategies and the relationship between these factors. The module aims to develop awareness of the increasing legal infra-structure which the police operate within and a critical understanding as it applies to different aspects of social life.

Transnational and Organised Crime

This course aims to provide the theoretical underpinning to understanding the global nature of organised crime and law enforcement responses. It is a key objective of this course that students will understand the complexity of cross border transnational crime and the characteristics that create problems for law enforcement agencies in the disruption and prosecution of criminality.

The choice of careers following graduation is wide and varied.

Previous Graduates from Policing (Criminal Investigation) have decided to join the police through the traditional route, others have decided to apply for either direct entry detective (metropolitan Police), or fast track detective Programme (I.e. Kent Police). Further opportunities exist as investigators for: National Crime Agency, the Military, Independent Office for Police Conduct, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Security Services, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and so on.

Other Graduates have obtained jobs inside the criminal justice system, such as HM probation Service, HM Prison Service, the UK Border Force, etc.

Graduates may also look at the private sector for security related and investigative roles too.

In addition, there are a number charitable and voluntary organisations working with the criminal justice sector and vulnerable groups, such as Victim Support, Mind, Shelter, Nacro, Prince’s Trust, Porchlight, Barnardo’s, etc. offering suitable job opportunities. 

It is important to note that the knowledge and skills that you gain from doing a criminal investigation degree are transferable to other careers and therefore you could embark on a wide range of career pathways, and should not feel tied to the professions listed above.

Some students opt to undertake further research, and go on to study Masters by research on criminal investigation topics of their choice. Others opt to study at Masters level either with a different department (i.e. Law), or at another University that offers postgraduate courses of their choice.

Fees

Tuition Fees for 2020/21 have not yet been finalised. Course webpages will be updated with Tuition Fee information once these have been agreed.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

CategoryDescription
Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student
There may be options for field trips in year two and three. These are optional and generally cost students £130-£140 per trip.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Teaching

The University is divided into semesters.  Semester One is from September to December, and Semester two is from February to May each year. Typically you will undertake three modules in Semester One each academic year, and three in semester Two each academic year. This is only different in year three where your dissertation (a 40 credit module) lasts for two semesters. Having semesters allows you to completer three modules before moving on to the other three each year. 

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshops. You will typically have around 14 contact hours per week.

Seminars in smaller groups will enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures.  In addition, you will meet with your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT), who will be able to assist you with any queries or problems that you may have, They will also be able to signpost you to any of the University Services should you need them. 

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020

Your actual contact hours depend on the option modules you select.

Independent Learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study.  Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars.

Your module tutors will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class.

For the Dissertation in year three, you will undertake independent research. In a topic of interest to you (relating to Criminal Investigation). You will work under the supervision of a member of the programme team. You will meet with your supervisor regularly.

Overall Workload

Your overall workload typically consists of 14 contact hours. You will undertake 15 hours independent learning and assessment activity. In addition, there will be field trips.

For each 20-credit module, your study time is about 10 hours per week

Academic Input

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience.

All our team members hold doctoral and teaching qualifications. They are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team webpage. You should note members of the teaching team might change.

Postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars. We also have a number of experts from criminal justice professions who provide some interesting practical inputs to modules. Your individual timetables will inform you when they may provide presentations

The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Some modules contain a piece of practice or 'formative' assessment for which you can receive feedback from your module tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or 'summative' assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows:

Year 1

83 per cent coursework (including presentations, essays, portfolios, group work, practicals), 17 per cent written exams.

Year 2

70 per cent coursework 30 per cent written exams

Year 3

100 per cent coursework

Feedback

You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

We aim to provide you with feedback within 10 working days of hand-in (i.e. any practice assessment) and 20 working days of hand-in (formal coursework assessment).

You will have the opportunity to use the Hydra facility during your decision making module. This is widely used simulation tool to assist you to learn more.

Guest Lecturers: Guest lecturers are people who are currently working in criminal justice areas or organisations or individuals who come to CCCU to deliver a lecture, seminar or workshop, or attend one of the careers events we arrange for you. This allows you to have direct contact with professionals working in the field, which allows you to network and opens up opportunities for work experience and employment and also allows you to gain insights into specific areas of the criminal justice system from people who currently practice or research in a relevant area. 

We also invite individuals who have a specific experience that allows you to gain an insight into a specific aspect of crime, such as victims of crime, where appropriate and possible.

UK/EU

Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us

International

Full-time study

Need some help?

UK

For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Email: courses@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000

EU/International

Contact our International Team

 

Last edited 10/09/2019 10:55:00

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Last edited: 10/09/2019 10:55:00