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Advance your career in the police service. Explore the key challenges facing police in today’s rapidly changing world, and develop enhanced critical and research skills to help tackle them.
- Complete your Masters while working full-time – regardless of your schedule – with our flexible blended-learning delivery.
- Our Research Fellowship route will let you carry out a research project in your area of professional practice, with the choice to top-up to an MA afterwards.
- Get a truly multi-disciplinary perspective with a course that draws on expertise from across the faculties in our university
- Develop an in-depth and systematic understanding of key topics on modules designed in consultation with Senior Police Officers.
- Join forces with PIER, our Policing Institute for the Eastern Region, with links to local and regional forces, and policing bodies and chief officers at local and national level.
- Always feel supported with online resources including a learning management system, online library services, web-based forums, and Study Skills Plus.
What you will study
Developed for serving police officers and staff, our MA Contemporary Policing will give you a critical perspective on key aspects of policing theory and practice. As well as developing your research skills, you will cover three main policing strands: public protection; digital; and leadership, management and change.
The course has been designed to address key issues and challenges facing policing today. Benefitting from the expertise from many of our University’s faculties, and supported by our Policing Institute for the Eastern Region, it will help you develop your skills in critical analysis and research methodology, allowing you to identify, reflect on and critically engage with evidence-informed policy and practice.
By exploring relationships between and within different academic disciplines, you will discover how they can be applied to the police service both as an organisation and in its working practices, and gain insights into current policing priorities. You will also develop a critical understanding of the key issues affecting the police service in our rapidly changing society, including police accountability, effectiveness and performance, and organisational transformation.
By the end of the course, you will command a range of critical analysis techniques and frameworks you can apply to problems and issues in your own area of policing, with a thorough consideration for the implications of ethical dilemmas.
Or, by choosing our Research Fellowship route, you can take just the first year of the MA, which includes the research module (see below) and a Work-Based Project module. This will allow you to carry out a small-scale research project in your own area of professional practice, with support from an academic supervisor. Through this option, you will qualify with a PGCert, which you can then top up to a full MA if you want to.
How you will study
You will receive lecture materials through online delivery, supplemented by two study days each trimester. These face-to-face sessions will bring you together with your fellow students, allowing you to share your learning, as well as giving you an opportunity for individual supervision.
The online element will be delivered through Canvas, our learning management system, and consist predominantly of narrated lectures, with audio and video feedback provided through Adobe Connect and Skype. You will also have access to discussion boards throughout the course, creating an online community of staff and students.
During both the online and face-to-face delivery, you will be supported by lecturers who are experts in their field, across a range of disciplines such as policing, criminology, sociology, health and leadership and management.
If you are a serving police officer or member of related staff, our MA Contemporary Policing will help you to advance your career and equip you for senior management roles in policing or other related criminal justice organisations. With modules designed in consultation with police researchers and practitioners you will develop an in-depth and systematic understanding of core topics affecting the modern police service.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Researching Police and PolicingThis module will help you develop the research skills and techniques needed to critically evaluate the literature on policing you will use during the course and to complete your dissertation. If you are taking the Research Fellow route, it will also equip you to conduct a research project on your own professional practice in the Work Based Project module. You will explore the methodologies and methods applied in contemporary social science research with a particular focus on the policing context, allowing you to select an appropriate range for your own needs. The module will give you an opportunity to experiment with a variety of methods, so you can fully understand them and adapt them creatively in your chosen projects. You will explore thoroughly the issues involved in planning a research project and formulating research questions and, with the aid of library expertise, discover the most recent tools for reviewing and researching existing literature, with particular attention to ethical principles and the politics of social research. You will be encouraged to critically assess research methods and expand the range of techniques with which you are familiar, for example by exploring different types of ethnography and participant observation, including visual methodologies, narrative analysis and critical discourse analysis. Computer-assisted analysis methods will be introduced and developed, and you will receive an introduction to quantitative data analysis with a focus on data exploration and significance testing. You will also be given the opportunity to develop the methodology for your major project or Fellowship research project and discuss the progress of your research on a week-by-week basis.
Policing in a Digital WorldOn this module, you will address the rapidly changing digital policing context and the scale of challenge posed by new technological developments and associated changes in culture, society, and the economy. Your focus will be on future challenges posed for policing by the emergence of new types of internet enabled crimes. These includes online fraud, stalking and harassment, abuse and hate crime, grooming and the viewing of child abuse imagery and extend to cybercrime and cyberterrorism. Digital technologies also offer the police rapidly changing means to deter and investigate crime. These include digital forensics, identity and genetic databases, digital mapping, facial recognition, and Big Data analytics. Both the changing forms of criminality and the new tools for policing raise difficult strategic, operational and ethical questions. You will consider digital capability and delivery models with reference to the current work being done to equip the police service for the digital age, also focussing on difficult ethical questions thrown up by new surveillance capabilities and data-driven policing.
Policing and Public ProtectionThis module will give you a comprehensive and critical overview of those policing activities generally referred to as ‘Public Protection’, drawing together insights from academic and policy perspectives. You will explore applied and theoretical critical issues in public protection and other aspects of risk, the viewpoints of victims, offender behaviour, and the challenges facing professionals who work on the front line in public protection. By reviewing current understanding of best practice in multi-agency working, risk assessment and threat assessment, you will gain a 360° perspective on public protection integrating research, practice expertise and theoretical paradigms.
Major ProjectThis module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.
Police Culture, Management and Change (optional for the Fellowship route)This module will give you an understanding of the antecedents and complexities of contemporary police culture, management, and organisational change. You will explore the theory of police culture, leadership and management, and strategy as it pertains to organisational practices, and how organisational practices such as change management, leadership development, and ethical behaviour are applied practically in contemporary policing. You will also critically consider how various perspectives of police culture, management, and organisational change can be applied within police organisations and how these principles can be applied within your own career. This understanding will be academically grounded through a critical engagement with the debates and contemporary issues in police management through the lens of police culture. The module will have a multi-disciplinary focus, with inputs from both business/operational and sociological perspectives. Your assessment will consist of two parts: a group presentation, in which you will present a case study based on personal experience and explain the outcomes and lessons learned as well as writing a follow-up reflection, and a written assessment addressing key concepts you have learned during the module.
Work Based Project (Fellowship route only)This module is designed to support serving police officers and staff in carrying out a small-scale research project into an area of professional practice or police problem-solving area. Supported by an academic supervisor, you will identify a research topic and refine this through a literature review and selecting an appropriate methodology and design for your study. Ethical implications will be considered and you will follow Anglia Ruskin University’s ethics approval process before embarking on your research project. This is an opportunity for you to practice the knowledge, skills and tools that you developed in Researching Police and Policing, and create and utilise research for improvement in your chosen area of policing. You will submit a report on your project and keep a research diary outlining the development of your project and reflecting on your learning throughout the process, presenting extracts from this as an appendix to your report. You will also give a verbal presentation on the findings of your project to your peers, allowing you to disseminate your findings to a wider audience and receive feedback on ideas for implementation, further research and improvement. You will complete a written reflective commentary to accompany your presentation, evaluating your project and its possible future implementation in your professional practice as well as reflecting on the feedback and your ideas for possible future research plans.
You will be assessed through a variety of methods aligned to the specific learning outcomes of each module. Rather than simply testing your learning, the assessment on this course is designed to be integral to your learning process. It will consist entirely of coursework and will, on some modules, require you to complete a sustained piece of research and writing or, on others, a portfolio of smaller, complementary tasks.
The longer tasks will include literature reviews, comparative case studies, research proposals and a dissertation, in which you will be given the opportunity to engage in sustained primary research or scholarly enquiry. The portfolio tasks will include: data generation and analysis; presentations (in which you will present, critique and/or defend course materials to peers and staff); short review papers demonstrating your research, writing and critical analysis skills; practical data gathering exercises; and short abstracts of core course readings.