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Dilemmas and Decision Making in Policing

Tags: Policing

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Dilemmas and Decision Making in Policing

AUTHOR : By Emma Spooner and Bob Cooper

ISBN : 9781915713124

Edition No : 1

Publication : Sep 8, 2023

Extent : 128 pgs

ISBN : 9781915713131

Edition No : 1

Publication : Sep 8, 2023

Extent : 128 pgs

ISBN : 9781915713148

Edition No : 1

Publication : Sep 8, 2023

Extent : 128 pgs


Explores how policing students and police officers might apply theory to tackle dilemmas demonstrated through true to life scenarios.

Relevant for those undertaking the Professional Policing degree, Apprenticeships or the Degree Holder Entry Programme, as well as their academic and work-based educators, it examines the complexities faced on a daily basis by frontline officers. 

A range of fictional realistic case studies are presented in order to highlight contemporary challenges in the modern policing landscape. These are unpicked through discussion and reflective questions, exploring how decisions are made based on theoretical understanding and practical considerations in context. Key themes within these scenarios include procedural justice, legitimacy, organisational culture, prioritisation of workload, objectivity and neutrality, human rights and values. The book provides students and their educators with the opportunities to discuss policing dilemmas and decision-making in a safe space.



Section1 - Policing by Consent: Decision Making and Public Accountability

Chapter 1 Legitimacy and control: Stop and search

Chapter 2 The role of the police: Policing protests and demonstrations 

Section 2 – Managing Risk and Safeguarding: Complex Decision Making

Chapter 3 Identifying and managing risk: Stalking and harassment 

Chapter 4 Prosecuting or safeguarding: Juveniles involved in criminality

Section 3 - Mindset, Choices and Priorities: Investigative Decision Making

Chapter 5 Achieving best evidence: Assault of Elderly Male 

Chapter 6 Getting off to the right start: Responding to sexual assault

Chapter 7 Prioritising Workloads: Investigation Planning






Emma Spooner is a lecturer at the University of Sunderland delivering work-based learning programmes to practitioners involved in investigative practice and policing. She draws on 21 years of policing experience as a front-line practitioner working across the spectrum of volume and priority crime, serious and complex crime and major crime investigation to help to de-mystify the research process and contextualise it into daily working practices. Helping students to embrace research and understand its application to professional practice and workplace development lies at the heart of her teaching.

Bob Cooper was a detective for 25 years. During that time he worked as a mentor to his colleagues and delivered numerous training events both to internal and external parties around aspects of investigative practice including decision making. He has a passion for understanding investigative decision making and has used this to underpin discussions with frontline colleagues to help them to develop and maintain standards within the workplace.

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