Module code: LAW2089

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

HAMILTON M Dr (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 5

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAMINATION 100

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module primarily considers the role of policing within the criminal justice system.  The module first invites students to consider what the criminal justice ‘system’ is, and what its goals and values should be. Students will learn about the different models of criminal justice systems, about the adversarial and inquisitorial styles of criminal justice process and be able to evaluate them against each other as well against the ideals of system goals.

The module then moves on to examine the role the police play within the criminal justice system and their impact and effect on the criminal justice process. The bulk of the module examines the operation of police powers in detail, including the significance of ‘cop culture’ and working practices. The module examines the law regulating police powers in the areas of stop and search, arrest, search of premises, custody and police interviewing. Students will assess the efficacy of these laws against the twin aims of promoting effective policing and also, the protection of suspect rights. One of the key themes throughout the module will be the issue of institutional racism (c/f other forms of discrimination) in modern policing. Students will be expected to identify and assess the extent of racism in police practice and also to critically assess the efficiency of systemic measures which seek to correct and eradicate racism. The module also examines the objectives of ideal public order policing and students will consider whether historical and modern police practice in this area achieves the stated ideals. Lastly, the module considers the question of “who polices the police?” Students will be required to examine high profile cases of police misconduct and assess whether such misconduct is prevalent within the current system of policing. Students will also consider the possible causes of police misconduct and critically assess the effectiveness of systemic responses in identifying, correcting and preventing misconduct.

Module aims

This module aims to enable students to consider recent, relevant and contentious issues affecting the practice of policing and upon completion of the module to be able to debate critically and reach resoned answers to key questions such as:
What should the goals of a criminal justice system be?
What are the different models of policing? How and when should these models be deployed? What are the pros and cons of each model?
What are the powers given to the police, and how do they exercise them?
What role is played by ‘cop culture’?
How prevalent is racism in “cop culture”?
Are current limits to police powers adequate?
Why is stop and search such a contentious issue in modern policing?
Are suspects (and vulnerable suspects) adequately protected?
Are there adequate limits on police discretion in covert policing?
What are the causes of police misconduct?
How is police misconduct addressed within the criminal justice system?

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Be able to evaluate the competing interests of the criminal justice system. CT
002 Be able to conceptualise police culture and its impact upon police practice and public perception of the police. KCT
003 Have a comprehensive understanding of police powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. K
004 Be able to analyse the tension between police powers and suspects’ rights, having regard to the role played by cop culture and police working practices. KCT
005 Have a critical understanding of issues surrounding the reliability of empirical research in the field of criminal justice. KCT
006 Be able to apply models of criminal justice to policing. CPT
007 Be able to critically analyse the role played by the police in the occurrence of miscarriages of justice and to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedies for incidences of police misconduct. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

The aims and values of the criminal justice system
Models of criminal justice
Cop culture and working practices
Stop and search
Detention at the police station and questioning (including right to silence)
The use of non-interrogatory evidence(search/covert policing)
Public Order Policing
Remedying police malpractice

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:

11x 2 hour lectures weekly (students will be introduced to key issues raised in each topic, core cases and statistical research relating to the topic)
6 x 1 hour tutorials (students will be required to prepare and research questions which have been pre set. Such questions act as a framework for the discussion to take place. The pre set questions are designed to allow students to critically contemplate and debate key areas in the topic. Such questions will require students to idenitfy areas of controversy, inadequacies and remedies in the practice of policing and students are encouraged to expand their research and discussion to current events as it relates to policing)
120 self study hours (students are required to use these hours to complete the essential and supplementary reading listed in the module handbook. They are also required to use such reading as a springboard for independent research which they should incoporate into their own study material and tutorial discussions)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate


The aim of the assessment is to test students’ critical understanding of the subject within the context of a timed examination and to identify and analyse key issues, and to demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge from a range of sources (case law, policy documents, and empirical studies) and also the ability to reach specified, targeted and reasoned conclusions to the questions set.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

One 2 hour unseen written examination. Students are given a choice of 6 questions which are designed to cover all the key areas in the subject. They are required to answer 2 questions.


Formative assessment and feedback

Students are given one formative assessment in week seven (approx). This will take the form of a 1 hour unseen written examination. Students will be informed of the topic(s) covered in the formative assessment 2 weeks prior. Such topics will feature in the examination although the actual questions and focus may differ. They will receive the marks and written feedback after the assessment. Students are encouraged to make personal appointments for further feedback or review where necessary. Students are also encouraged to practice exam writing using questions set in tutorials and they are welcome to submit these to their tutor for feedback throughout the semester.

Reading list

Reading list for CRIMINAL JUSTICE I :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.