LL4BD      Half Unit
Policing: Contemporary Issues and Controversies

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Robert Reiner NAB 7.23


This course is available on the MSc in Criminal Justice Policy, MSc in Public Management and Governance, MSc in Regulation, Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following specialisms: Criminology and Criminal Justice, Public Law, Legal Theory.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

Course content

The police are a central part of the criminal justice system and of the State's formal machinery for maintaining order and enforcing law. LL4BC offered a survey of the research literature on the functioning and governance of policing organisations. This course builds on that by analysing and discussing contemporary controversies, issues and policy developments. The list of topics will include: 1) Specialist forms of policing such as: homicide investigations, rape investigations, public order, drugs policing, transnational policing, private policing 2) Diversity and policing: especially gender, ethnicity, sexuality. 3) Policing and social justice: discriminatory use of police powers such as stop-and-search. 4) Innovations in policing tactics: such as community, zero-tolerance, problem-oriented, intelligence-led policing. 5) Developments in police governance e.g. Police and Crime Commissioners, the Independent Police Complaints Commission. 6) Alternative policing models, such as restorative justice, and the possible futures of policing.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be two revision sessions in the Summer Term.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

General surveys of the field include: T Newburn (Ed), Handbook of Policing 2nd Ed. (2008); R Reiner, The Politics of the Police (4th edn, 2010). Useful collections of research and policy papers include: J. Brown (Ed) The Future of Policing Routledge 2014; T Newburn (Ed), Policing: Key Readings Willan 2004; R Reiner (Ed), Policing Vols I and II Dartmouth (1996); J.Peay and T.Newburn eds.: Policing: Politics, Culture and Control (2012). Detailed Reading lists for each topic will be provided. Journals offering papers on contemporary issues include: The British Journal of Criminology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Policing and Society, Policing.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2014/15: 20

Average class size 2014/15: 20

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills