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The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at https://www.usq.edu.au/course/specification/current.
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CRI2212 Police and Society

Units : 1
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules
Version produced : 24 September 2023


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 offers

Study period Mode Campus
Semester 1, 2023 Online
Date printed 24 September 2023