During your first year, you will develop core skills and standards for policing, and gain an understanding of the police constable role. The modules introduce you to key legislation and powers and areas such as roads policing and response policing. You will also explore the criminal justice system and how to tell what works in policing activities such as crime prevention.
Core Policing 1
This module is specifically designed to provide you with a basic introduction to police powers and legislation governing police work. The areas of study addressed will be linked to key underpinning issues such as ethics and values of the police service, how police powers are to be used in a fair and justified way, risk assessments and officer safety and a critical examination of police powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and responses to various types of policing incidents. It will consider legislation and policies, introduce basic offences and areas of policing relating to a response officer’s role.
Introduction to Professional Policing
This module introduces the role of the police constable and the need to maintain professional standards, exploring the history and development of the police service in the UK and the constitutional position of the police, legitimacy and accountability. You will consider the responsibilities of those charged with ensuring the police deliver a professional service (e.g. the Home Office and Police and Crime Commissioners), the powers of police officers, and how the service works with other agencies to provide an effective and national and international service. You will consider the level of professional standards required and the consequences associated with failing to comply with them. The module will also introduce you to key study skills such as using the library and online sources, academic writing, critical thinking, analysis and argument, communication and presentation skills, referencing skills, working in teams and reflective practice.
Crime Science and Problem Solving
The module explores the general philosophy of science and outlines the scientific method and its application to policing. It will explore criminological theories and how these theories are used in various crime investigation techniques with a specific examination of Geographical Profiling, Predictive Policing and Problem Solving. You will also have to opportunity to apply these to real life scenarios and present their findings to the group.
Module also introduces the concepts of forensic science, looking at the duties of the police at the scenes of crime and what procedures must be followed and why.
The Criminal Justice System and How to Tell What Works
The module considers the different stages of the justice process (e.g. the police, HMPPS, HM Courts and Tribunals) for the purposes of developing an understanding of the interactions of the various organisations at all levels. Appropriate legislation underpinning the work of the Criminal Justice System will be discusses (e.g. detaining and escorting suspects, victim/witness support through proceedings, sentencing options, issues surrounding disclosure). Further topics include e.g.. equality and diversity, ethics, psychological theories surrounding offending, and victimisation. You will gain an understanding of how we can assess ‘What Works’ within the Criminal Justice System, exploring Evidence-based policing and core research designs and methods.
Criminology and Crime Prevention
This module focuses on situational, biological, sociological and psychological theories on crime and their relevance to policing, along with a study of national crime preventative strategies and tools. It will investigate crime, victimisation and harm, the relationship between offenders and victims, including risk and vulnerability. It also explores sociological, political and criminological considerations of crime and crime control policies and practices, with a view to evaluating the benefits that such an understanding can have on operational policing and decision making. The module will further discuss policing strategies and specific crime prevention initiatives, with a view to measuring their success against crime/victimisation and public support.
The second year further explores key areas such as criminal investigation, community policing and response policing. You will have an opportunity to develop your professional decision-making skills by taking part in simulation exercise in our Hydra Suite. During this year you will also be introduced to the ‘wicked problems’ modern policing needs to tackle, such as digital policing and cybercrime, terrorism and political violence, public protection, vulnerability and risk.
Core Policing 2
The module will focus on how police powers should be used in an ethical manner. It introduces a number of offences relating to roads policing and will consider how an initial police response is delivered, how these offences are investigated and offenders bought to justice. Fundamental aspects of a police officer’s duty will be explored, such as crime investigation skills, Golden hour principles and first officer response actions. The legislation and policy surrounding gathering and handling of police Intelligence and information will be critically explored and legislation specifically relevant to police intelligence examined in detail.
The module examines the philosophy and practice of criminal investigation, tracing its history and exploring ethical issues relating to the rule of law, human rights, the legal process, and investigative failings. The module identifies key investigative skills required of detectives, focusing on the structure of an investigation, investigative principles and influences, as well as investigative decision-making. It illustrates how the police employ various experts to aid their investigations, and how an investigation can demonstrate a multidisciplinary approach. The module will also focus on particular offences together with corresponding legislation (for example, introduction to sexual offences, fraud, murder and manslaughter). Strategies, such as investigative interviewing will be explored, as will key legislation covering all aspects of police investigations.
Community Policing and Work-Based Learning
This module focuses on the models of community and neighbourhood policing, their history, impact of politics as well how effective communication can encourage co-operation and perceptions of confidence in the police service. The module will examine the support partners can offer in a community context and the barriers to working effectively with partner agencies. The importance of community engagement will be fully examined, including the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of engagement and how to maximise community cohesion. Understanding and examination of anti-social behaviour and the impact this has on a community is key aspect of finding ways of preventing it. The module embed work-based learning opportunities via a volunteering placement and partnership working with the local police when possible.
Wicked Problems in Policing
Wicked Problems in Policing is a module specifically designed to provide you with a critical understanding of how interconnected policing issues are in operational terms.
Throughout you will not only be introduced to wicked problems in policing but will be asked to take a critical stand to them, considering ethics, equality, and diversity, in the context of professional policing. You will gain a critical understanding of vulnerability and risk through examples such as child sexual exploitation and street gangs. Closely related is the area of public protection, examining areas of abuse, police misuse of power and investigative biases, or how public protection works in real life (i.e. multi-agency work). You will also develop knowledge relating to the area of digital policing, exploring technology as an investigative aid but also as supporting the committing of crime. Finally, the module analyses the issue of counter-terrorism and relevant processes and legislation.
Decision-Making Theory and Practice in Policing
This module offers an opportunity to explore the link between theory and practice in and the emerging arena of critical incident management. To reflect this appropriately the module will address decision-making and psychological theory in application to contemporary decision-making contexts in policing. The module examines specific decision-making models, personal and collective decision-making, leadership and team functioning, environmental constraints and stressors. It considers the application of critical incident understanding in different contexts practically, e.g., murder investigation, road death, arson, safeguarding children, missing persons and fire-arms use. You will also have an opportunity to take part in a Hydra exercise and experience a simulated decision-making environment.
During year three, the focus turns to developing your skills in research methods and evidence-based policing, allowing you to design an individual project to research a key policing issue. You also continue exploring response policing and relevant legislation, policy and procedure.
Core Policing 3
This module follows on from Core policing 1 and 2. Using your understanding from previous modules, you will examine and understand the legislation and policies and resource issues involved in the complex area of public protection. You will be required to undertake ta critical examination of police powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in relation to interviewing suspects and consider how interviews are used to progress a criminal investigation. Throughout the module you will be required to consider the ethics of policing and the cultural and political issues that arise in such complex policing operations.
Evidence-Based Policing and Research Methods
This module builds upon the theoretical understanding of Evidence Based Policing and Research Methods gained during previous years. You will now be able to put it to the practical use, via. commonly used data analyses in qualitative (e.g. thematic analysis, IPA, discourse analysis) and quantitative (e.g. descriptives, t-tests, regressions, ANOVAs) research methods. This will be done in the context of policing research so that you can understand how different research design and data analyses inform practice.
You will undertake an extended study under the supervision of a member of staff. The area for research will effectively be an extension of your studies and may be proposed by you or based on suggestions made by tutors. Whilst majority of the studies will be based on an extensive review, analysis and evaluation of the literature, but empirical studies will be entertained should the student have undertaken the co-requisite Evidence-Based Policing and Research Methods module. Conducting in-depth research, review the literature and sources, enables you to construct a well-reasoned argument, encourages reflective learning practices and challenges preconceptions surrounding police practice.
Likely optional modules
You can choose to gain deeper insight into law and politics of policing or enhance your employability by taking one of the language courses offered by the university.
In the second year of your studies, you can usually select one optional module. Typical options include
Evidence Relating to Criminal Investigation (20 credits)
The main aims of the module are to develop your knowledge and understanding of evidential issues and how these relate to police investigations in the UK. The module requires you to become acquainted with legislation and current case law. In addition you will acquire a knowledge and understanding of the legal process both pre- and post-trial.
Psychology and the Criminal Justice System (20 credits)
This module aims to give you an introductory understanding of forensic psychology and its impact on the criminal justice system. It will explore how psychology has changed criminal justice procedures, impacted on police practice and given a better understanding of people involved in the criminal justice system such as: perpetrators, victims and witnesses. Special attention will be paid to vulnerable people with lectures on addiction and mental health. Additionally, this module will explore the psychology of the court process and the prison system utilising psychology to understand trial proceedings, the impact of psychological processes on sentencing and the application of psychology to the treatment of offenders.
International Policing – Structures and Dynamics (20 credits)
The aim of the module is to provide you with the opportunity to develop knowledge of the structures which regulate international policing. It also aims to develop the student’s critical understanding of the dynamics which determine the forms and priorities of international policing.
Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation
The module will investigate how cybercrime is perceived and discussed in society, politics and the media; and will examine the kinds of questions that criminologists ask about cybercrime. The module will also explore the growth of the Internet and how this growth creates opportunities for criminal activities and offending. There will be a review of how our digital assets and activities in cyberspace are protected, as well as the challenge to understand cyber risk and deliver effective accessible security. The module will also examine the increasing dependency of the UK population upon such information and communications infrastructures and the threats we face regarding the ability of individuals and organisations to respond to the security challenges and risks. The module will examine case studies and the offences associated with cyber hacking, cyberterrorism, frauds, thefts, scams and cons.
In the third year of your studies, you can select two optional modules. Typical options include
Investigating Rape and Domestic Abuse (20 credits)
This module critically examines the police investigation of rape (as well as other serious sexual assaults), and domestic abuse. It enhances your knowledge in relation to previous studies of criminal investigation, by developing your 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.
Psychology of Serious and Prolific Offending (20 credits)
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 your development of both subject specific and transferable skills appropriate to the level of study.
Policing Terrorism and Political Violence in the UK (20 credits)
This module aims to give you an understanding of the emerging arena of critical incident management in policing, with a focus in application to the policing of terrorism in the UK. Critical incident management has a broad definition and wide application in practice. The module will consider diverse case studies which examine in practice issues of decision making processes in controversial police decision making in policing, and capture the critical instance learning points from these instances. The module will consider policing terrorism in contemporary society, history, philosophy, morals and ethics, decision making and balancing priorities and audiences. The multi-faceted dynamics surrounding, human rights, models of policing terrorism (intelligence, community etc.), CONTEST, radicalisation and the law will come together, offering a focused examination of theory and practice in policing the problem of terrorism and political violence in the UK.
Beyond Policing: Issues of International Justice (20 credits)
The main aim of this module is to provide you with a critical understanding of the relevance of international responses and the risks to Human Rights of global issues where policing is unable to provide an adequate response. Such issues include the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic and the prosecution of the War on Terror. This will include an analysis of the role of intergovernmental agencies such as the Council of Europe, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Organisation as well as nongovernmental bodies such as Amnesty International.
"The Policing Suite at Christ Church has allowed me to pick and create my own degree with the different speciality pathways. I’m able to study modules that I’m interested in, and specialise in key areas according to what I want my future to be. Despite being called ‘Policing’ many students find their interest turning to other law and criminal justice bodies throughout the course, so in no way is this course a straight pathway to just joining the police force."