Module code: CR2001

Module co-ordinator: Professor Neil Chakraborti

While claims that the British police enjoyed a ‘golden age’ in post-war Britain have been widely debated, there can be little doubt that policing has become increasingly complex and contested in recent years. Pressures for financial, structural and organisational reform, combined with police officers’ involvement in controversial issues and events, have led to a widespread transformation of the police service since the mid-1990s.

In the same period, it has been argued that society itself has become increasingly fragmented, and that this has made the task of policing more difficult. Given that British policing is predicated on the notion that the public consent to the policing they receive, increasing diversity means that the legitimacy once apparently enjoyed is ever-more difficult to secure.

Given these conditions, this module explores recurring and contemporary debates in the ongoing development of policing in Britain.

Topics covered

  • What is policing?
  • Historical perspectives and the 'Golden Age' of policing
  • Police powers
  • Police working cultures
  • The extended policing family
  • Policing ethnicity
  • Policing diversity
  • Transnational policing
  • Policing and the media
  • Policing, protest and disorder
  • Policing cybercrime
  • Policing terrorism


  • 9 two-hour lectures
  • 8 one-hour seminars


  • Essay, 2,000 words (50%)
  • Exam (50%)