Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Real world crime problems are tackled through policing. Knowledge and understanding of the historical origins of policing, how these have impacted on contemporary practice and organizational structures of policing, the scientific basis of hotspot policing, and the use ‘problem-oriented’ policing are needed when considering real world crime problems.

This unit introduces the topic of policing through both a historical and contemporary context. It begins by helping students to build the knowledge and understanding needed to explain how the varying historical origins of policing have impacted on contemporary practice, and organisational structures of modern policing. This understanding is then further elaborated by learning the scientific rationale for modern policing methods such as hotspot policing, Problem Oriented pPlicing (POP) and community-based policing. Students will then develop their ability to apply their understanding to a real-world crime problem.

The aim of this unit is to develop students' understanding of modern policing methods in order to apply this to real world crime problems.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe key themes around the development of modern policing practice and the broader impact that each approach has on crime (GA2, GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Explain approaches to modern police practice (GA2, GA6, GA9)

LO3 - Apply understanding of contemporary policing methods to a real-world crime problem (GA1, GA2, GA6, GA7)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - Recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society

GA5 - Demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession

GA6 - Solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively

GA9 - Demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media


Topics will include:

  • The evolution of policing
  • Comparative structures and styles of policing
  • The new plural policing
  • The standard model of policing
  • Community policing and Problem Oriented Policing (POP)
  • Hot spot policing and third-party policing
  • Investigations
  • Policing diverse communities
  • Recruitment, management and leadership
  • Accountability and regulation
  • The future of police practice and policy

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit comprises 150 hours of study in total. It will be taught over a 12 week semester, with one 2-hour lecture followed by a 1-hour tutorial each week or ACU Online 10 week asynchronous delivery mode. Other study components might include on-line webinars, podcasts, readings, discussion forums etc. The balance of the hours is comprised of self-directed study.

The unit is sequenced to provide students with a developmental sequence of learning activity that scaffolds their learning through acquisition of requisite knowledge, development of understanding, and the application of this understanding in practice. This is delivered in a way that involves undertaking practical learning and assessments that focus on real-world problems and challenges. In this way students develop their problem solving, decision making and investigative skills with regard to policing and its impact on crime and the community. This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote, synthesis, analysis and evaluation of the unit’s content. Students will also work to prepare and deliver a policing solution to a real-world crime problem.

ACU Online 

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment is an integral part of the learning process. The assessment tasks provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and critical thinking, and to develop effective research skills and written and oral communication skills. Subject to further revision, it is proposed that this unit be assessed by three assignments: a content knowledge quiz (MCQ/short answer), a research assignment, and a report.

The assessment tasks have been explicitly created to address the identified Learning Outcomes for this unit (assessment of learning) and designed to allow students to learn about and apply the skills required by professionals working in the field of criminology (assessment for learning).

  1. Online multiple-choice/ short answer exam. Students will be required to complete a short multiple-choice exam consisting of 20 questions covering the first 4 weeks of course content. This assessment will require students to identify key terms and meanings relating to key concepts presented in the unit.
  2. Research Essay. This assessment requires students to critically evaluate one contemporary approach to policing and its impact on outcomes for crime and the community. The research essay will allow students to engage in the policing literature more broadly and demonstrate an understanding of policing strategies and evidence.
  3. Report. Students will apply their knowledge of policing practices through developing a policing response to a real-world crime problem. Students will be required to use online resources to identify a specific crime problem in a geographical and temporal location and apply a suitable crime response.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Multiple-choice/short answer exam: Twenty question exam (15 multiple choice, 5 short answer). This assessment assists students in developing their ability to Identify and describe key concepts presented in the unit



GA2, GA5, GA9

Research Essay: Students will be required to write a 1500-word essay demonstrating their knowledge of one contemporary policing strategy. This assessment develops skills around critical evaluation of policing strategies and their impacts on crime and the community.


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA6, GA9

Report: Students will be required to write a 2000-word essay applying their knowledge of policing strategies to a real-world crime problem


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA6, GA7

Representative texts and references

Drew J, & Prenzler T, Contemporary police practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2015.

Allard T, Understanding and preventing Indigenous offending, Indigenous Justice Clearing house, Sydney, 2010

Cordner G, & Beibel, Problem-oriented policing in practice. Criminology and Public Policy, 4(2), 155-180, 2005

Mazerolle L, & Ransley J, The case for third-party policing. In D. Weisburd & A. A, Braga (Eds), Police innovation: Contrasting perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2006

Mazerolle L, Antrobus E, Bennett S, & Tyler T R, Shaping citizen perceptions of police legitimacy: A randomized field trial of procedural justice. Criminology, 51(1), 33-63, 2013

Sutton A, Cherney A, White R, & Clancey G, Crime prevention: principles, perspectives and practices. Cambridge University Press, UK, 2021

Joyce P, Policing: Development & Contemporary Practice, 2011.

Paterson C & Pollock E, Policing and Criminology: Policing Matters Series, 2011.

Reisig M & Kane R, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Police and Policing, 2014.

Bowling B, Reiner R & Sheptycki J, The Politics of the Police, 5th edition, 2019.

Cunneen C, Conflict, Politics & Crime: Aboriginal Communities & the Police, 2001.

McLaughlin J & Muncie J, Controlling Crime, 2nd edition, 2001.

Stinson P, Criminology Explains Police Violence, 2020.

Loftus B, Police Culture in a Changing World, 2010.

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