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The module introduces students to the subject of policing and explores some of the main theories, concepts and debates in this field. It starts by introducing the key ideas behind policing, outlining the history of the police and investigating the breadth of the police’s role and the importance of police culture and discretion. We then discuss some of the main attempts to reform frontline policing in recent decades. Later lectures explore various themes and debates in contemporary policing, such as restorative policing, policing the drug trade, police pluralisation, police misconduct and accountability, and whether police officers should be routinely armed. Some lectures will be delivered by guest speakers who are either policing researchers or practitioners. Students will be expected to prepare for, attend and participate in three tutorials over the course of the module.
The module does not focus entirely on Ireland and An Garda Síochána – instead, it draws on theoretical and empirical literature from a wide variety of countries, contexts and policing organisations in order to ensure that students develop a well-rounded understanding of policing around the globe.