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Policing, Race and Justice


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutor: Megan McElhone
  • Assessment: a 4000-word essay (100%)

Module description

This module introduces you to, and allows you to engage with, a critical analysis of ‘the police’ and their policies, powers and practices as well as their role in supporting racism, discriminatory practices and colonialism. We will look closely at discourses on policing and the extent to which a racialised approach influences structures and everyday practice of policing and the criminal justice system as well as media representations of crime. Our emphasis is on how an analysis of one aspect of the criminal justice system can be used as an interpretive tool to critically explore the interaction of race and racism with crime, crime policy and extant criminal justice processes.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Policing and ‘the police’
  • The development of professionalised policing in Britain and its colonies
  • Police discretion and power
  • Police cultures
  • Policing institutional racism and institutional reform
  • Police media machine: controversies, censorship and image management
  • Proactivity, intelligence and pre-emption
  • Community policing: consent and coercion
  • Policing pluralism and privatisation
  • The ending of policing

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand and critically evaluate policing practices and policies
  • critically analyse the relationship between policing, racism and racialised practices
  • understand and contextualise policing policy debates and the theoretical perspectives within an racialised framework
  • critically evaluate theoretical approaches to understanding crime and the criminal justice system informed debates on race and racism
  • articulate clearly and fluently your own views with regard to racialised policing and ideas, as well as the impact on discussions of crime and criminal justice.