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CRI2212 Police and Society

Semester 1, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 2 July 2022


Examiner: Andrew Lowe


For most people who have any involvement with the criminal justice system, their encounter begins and ends with the police. As gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, where police discretionary power determines progress through or exit from the criminal justice system, the role of police, their effectiveness and the use/abuse of discretionary powers impacts upon public perceptions of police legitimacy, procedural justice and fairness of the criminal justice system, overall. As the frontline agency of the criminal justice system, police services across Australia are also the most costly arm of the criminal justice system. Policing in Australia consistently absorbs about seventy percent of the annual criminal justice system budget. As well, police occupy the foremost position in the criminal justice system, in both practice and resource demands, as well as being the predominant influence on public perceptions of the criminal justice system’s effectiveness. It is therefore paramount to students’ learning within criminal justices studies to gain a deeper understanding of how and why the police function as they do, the challenges present in police work, management and regulation, and addressing some of the (mis)perceptions associated with policing in Australia.

As gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, the police fulfil a crucial role in exercising their discretion to determine who enters the criminal justice system and who does not. To understand the way in which the police function, students commence their studies of policing in Australia with an overview of policing in an historical context and its development over time. Throughout the course students learn about styles and structures of policing, police use of discretionary powers, various policing roles, policing vulnerable and minority groups, and policing within the local and global context. Abuses of discretionary powers and other challenges associated with policing is also examined along with accountability measures in place to mitigate these abuses and challenges.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. explain policing in relation to the various contexts in which police work;
  2. critically discuss the necessity for various policing strategies and approaches when policing vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;
  3. compare and contrast the similarities and differences between fictional representations and the reality of police work;
  4. engage in group discussions and construct and apply independent thought in response to issues associated with policing;
  5. discuss the unique challenges associated with police work and how these challenges are managed and/or minimised.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Course overview and introduction to Policing and society 10.00
2. History of policing 10.00
3. Theories of policing 10.00
4. Police structures & organisation 10.00
5. Policing strategies, roles & duties 20.00
6. Policing in local and global contexts 10.00
7. Policing disadvantaged communities 10.00
8. Policing challenges, powers and abuse of powers 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Broadhurst, R., & Davies, S. E 2009, Policing in context: An introduction to police work in Australia, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Australia.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Description Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Date printed 2 July 2022