Module code: SOC2096

Module Overview

This module examines the history, role, and function of the police service. We consider the nature of the policing task, the contemporary organisation of the service and a range of issues to do with accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness. We will also consider styles of policing, how they have changed over time and the investigation and detection of crime. We look also at some areas which have proved difficult for the service to police which include rape, domestic violence, drugs and organised crime and terrorism.

Module provider


Module Leader

BULLOCK Karen (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Plural policing;
Models of policing;
Police powers and mechanisms of accountability;
Police culture;
The Police service and diversity;
Crime prevention;
The investigation of crime;
The investigation of murder;
The investigation of sexual violence;
The investigation of organised crime and terrorism.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 1 40
Coursework ESSAY 2 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes through critical engagement with a wide range of scholarly material.


The summative assessment for this module consists of:


Essay 1 (40%) 

Essay 2 (60%) 


Formative assessment and feedback:


Feedback in class on regular student inputs


Written feedback on individual assignment for assessment one will shape the preparation of the second and cohort feedback from the overall findings of the assessment will be offered in class and on SurreyLearn to all to further support preparation for the final assessment.

Module aims

  • To introduce the foundations and principles of modern policing
  • To examine how contemporary policing is conducted
  • Consider contemporary debates which shape policing and police practice

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 To be familiar with the key academic research findings about the role, functions and performance of the police service KCT
002 Be informed about the history of the police and its contemporary development KCT
003 To be aware of the key challenges faced by the police service KPT
004 To Be able to critically consider the function and role of the police in contemporary society KT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

 The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities of students through interactive and engaging sessions using varied teaching delivery methods, in addition to student reading.


There will be both lectures and seminar discussions. There is weekly reading and seminar preparation.


The module’s teaching and learning strategy aims to enhance students’ understanding and their capabilities as they engage with the content.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2096

Other information

The School of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability. The module specifically develops strengths with a view to preparing those graduate who might be considering careers in policing and criminal justice system, and well beyond. This module aims to develop students’ grasp of a set of key understandings and awareness of contemporary policing to underpin their future plan. Notably it gives students a strong sense of the roles that are available in contemporary policing (widely conceived) and gives insights  into how these might be applied for,

Global and cultural capabilities. The module gives insights into the role of the UK police service in a global context. This includes sessions covering global issues such as organised crime, drugs and terrorism. And, more generally, situating UK police structures in those that are evident around the world.

Resourcefulness and resilience. The module encourages students to reflect on assumptions about policing and engage in continual development of their skills.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 2 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 2025/6 academic year.