MSc Policing and Law Enforcement Leadership

Start date(s)

September 2022

Study mode

Full-time (1 year)

Part-time (2 years)

Tuition fees 22/23

Home (full-time, per year): £8,250

Home (per credit): £45.84

International (full-time, per year): £16,100

Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies:

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About this course

LJMU's MSc in Policing and Law Enforcement Leadership explores challenges facing contemporary law enforcement and how effective leadership can address them.

  • Study at the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies (LCAPS) which is licensed by the College of Policing to deliver Police Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) programmes
  • Embark on a programme designed as a higher qualification for those in supervisory, management and leadership roles
  • Reflect on your individual and team approaches to leadership in an increasingly complex environment
  • Learn from active researchers, former and serving officers, and subject specialists 
  • Participate in a variety of masterclasses throughout the academic year delivered by experts. Previous speakers include: the Director of Public Prosecutions and a former UN peacekeeper

During your studies, you will discuss and debate the major issues facing organisations, such as austerity and the changing nature of demand. You will be supported to reflect on your individual and team approaches to leadership and will explore the role of policing and law enforcement agencies in the wider context of society.

Since its creation in 2015, LCAPS has developed well-established relationships with a number of police and law enforcement agencies, particularly Merseyside Police, so we are well placed to attract serving officers and staff to study at LJMU.


Application and Selection

During the development of this programme, we have been working with our partners to develop opportunities for students to gain practical law enforcement experience during their studies, which could include short placements in a number of agencies. Similarly, there may be opportunities to send students to study for short periods of time in academic institutions abroad, as part of the university’s Go Global programme. Any opportunities will be discussed with interested students as and when they are available.

Teaching in the Centre for Advanced Policing Studies aims to combine academic rigour with critical attention to policy and practice agendas; proactively supporting workforce development, collaborating with policy makers and practitioners to provide a world-leading, cutting-edge, interdisciplinary teaching portfolio. LCAPS tutors include a mixture of academics and former practitioners from various disciplines including law, intelligence and policing, with former officers from ranging from Constable to Chief Constable. The Centre delivers a range of degrees covering a gamut of learning requirements and including experiential masters, distance learning and career partnership CPDs.

Professional body recognition

The College of Policing is the Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) for policing. The College has mandated that from 2020 there will be three entry routes into policing at Constable level. There is ongoing consultation between the College and the policing sector regarding the implications of the PEQF for those in supervisory, management and leadership roles. This MSc reflects all the current advice and guidance issued by the College, policing and other Law Enforcement agencies.

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)

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  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

The ‘Professionalisation’ agenda being promoted by the College of Policing has been agreed and formalised in terms of the three new entry routes at Police Constable level (the Pre-Join Policing Degree, the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship – PCDA – and the Degree Holder Entry Programme – DHEP). Consultation is still ongoing with the police service to agree the implications for more senior ranks. The likelihood is that Sergeants will require a Graduate Certificate and Inspectors/Chief Inspectors a PG Certificate in Policing Studies.

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For Superintendent ranks it is likely that a PG Diploma will be required, with a Masters degree being the default position for anyone wanting to attend the Strategic Command Course, with a view to becoming a Chief Officer. Recent trends have shown a majority of ambitious police and law enforcement leadership agency staff (in anticipation of, and to get ahead of, the forthcoming PEQF reforms for senior leaders) looking to obtain a Masters degree at Inspector level and above.

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

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Core modules

Evidence Informed Policy & Practice
30 credits

This module aims to develop your critical appreciation and understanding of the capacity of evidence-based research to contribute to practice developments in criminal justice. It examines the contributions research informed knowledge has made, and continues to make, to the development of criminal justice practices and encourages you to think critically about the scope to further extend the role of evidence-based thinking in developing problem solving solutions in policing and criminal justice.

The module, designed with 'in-service' criminal justice professionals in mind, seeks to develop your knowledge, understanding and ability to critique available research and good/best practice guidance in respect of evidence-informed policy and practice. It seeks to give the officers the platform to critically reflect on their working practices, to examine the extent to which they utilise research-informed methods, and to critically consider the extent to which new ideas/modules can actually be implemented in practice.

Accountability, Governance and the Political Landscape
20 credits

The aim of the module is to examine legal, professional and political aspects of the governance structures that ensure an accountable police service and law enforcement sector. It explores emerging debates relating to governance and accountability in law enforcement and how this discourse impacts on practice within operational spheres.

Methods for Work-Based Research
30 credits

This module, designed with 'in-service' policing, probation and criminal justice professionals in mind, seeks to develop your knowledge and understanding of the research methods used in the design, conducting, and delivery of good quality social research. It will enable you to:

  • develop the skills required to design and undertake your own original, work-based research project
  • develop an advanced and critical knowledge of the key issues that impact on research into criminal justice practice
  • generate a critical appreciation of diverse approaches to conducting research, methods of data collection and analysis

Leadership and the Individual
20 credits

The aim of this module is to examine leadership as a theoretical concept and to interpret different perspectives in terms of personal leadership in various settings and environments within policing and law enforcement. It explores emerging debates relating to leadership and how this discourse impacts on practice within operational spheres in policing and law enforcement.

60 credits

The aim of the dissertation is to develop the ability of students to analyse and interpret an issue in their chosen field, drawing on the relevant body of knowledge, collecting data and completing a piece of writing in a manner conforming to the tenets of disciplined, lucid and critical scholarship. Supervision will be led by the most appropriate academic tutor with full support from the Policing Studies module team.

Optional modules

10 credits

During this module, you will examine ethics within the operational context of policing.

You will consider the differences and the similarities in the way that ethics are considered in a research setting. This module explores emerging debates relating to ethics and how this discourse impacts on practice within operational spheres.

Leading in Complexity
10 credits

You will explore the current and future strategic challenges facing policing and law enforcement leaders in the UK and overseas. You will do this by studying leadership approaches that evidence clarity of thinking, flexibility of approach and adaptability in addressing the often competing demands of our communities. This module focuses on the key role of leadership from a national and international perspective considering issues that include: discussions on whether there is a unified approach to policing and law enforcement that is cross-border in approach; the relationship between policing and law enforcement leaders within a highly competitive international law enforcement market.

Leading Ongoing Investigations
10 credits

This module aims to critically examine the principles of a crime investigation, taking you through a structured, methodical process of a major crime investigation, discussing the initial stages, the factors considered in prioritising lines of enquiry and the preservation of evidence.

It will also examine how the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) will implement and develop the overarching investigation plan and various supporting strategies, setting key milestones to ensure focus.

You will also examine some of the wider strategic issues managed by the SIO, together with the role often played by partner agencies in supporting an investigation. This module focuses on the key role of leadership in investigation including; the role and responsibilities of the lead investigator, investigation strategy and work with partner agencies.

Press and the Media - Policing pathway  
10 credits

You will examine the nature of the modern press and media landscape, including social media and how this aligns to policing and law enforcement.

You will critically evaluate and assess the role that the press and media play in modern policing and law enforcement activity, including the legal and ethical issues arising from the relationship between those forums.

This module will consider effective use of social media and also look at the legal and ethical issues affecting this area of work.

The overall aim of the module is to raise awareness and develop the knowledge and skills needed to successfully engage with the press and media and to use social media. It focuses on the various aspects of leaders within policing and law enforcement and how they can effectively engage with the press and the media.

Command and Decision making in Critical Incidents - Policing pathway
10 credits

This module will identify and critically assess the constituents of a critical incident and raise knowledge and understanding of the psychological processes involved in the associated decision making process.

You will also assess the role and effectiveness of post-incident management theories and processes, together with the legal liabilities that often arise from critical incidents. The module will focus on what defines a critical incident, the command structures, decision making process and post incident management procedures.

It will also consider the responsibilities of leaders in policing and law enforcement in dealing with staff wellbeing, associated press and media issues together with legal principles.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

Teaching on postgraduate taught programmes is a combination of core and option modules, with lecture and seminar commitments throughout the week. Once timetables have been confirmed for the programme this information will be updated.

As with all postgraduate courses, you will be expected to be a self-sufficient learner who uses available resources to complete written assignments.

Teaching methods

Teaching will be delivered through lectures and seminars with visits from relevant guest speakers combined with interactive workshops and IT sessions. Teaching will also be supported by tutorial drop-in sessions.

Applied learning

Each student at the Centre for Advanced Policing Studies, regardless of level of study, is encouraged to attend the regular Masterclasses we organise with leading practitioners covering a range of topics pertinent to key areas of study. Previous speakers have included Alison Saunders, the former Director of Public Prosecutions; Deborah Gould, Barrister and Principal Crown Advocate for the West Midlands CPS, and Mr. Andre Rebello OBE, Senior Coroner for the Liverpool and Wirral.

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

You will be assessed via written assignments (including a 15,000 word dissertation in Semester 3) and reports on the self-reflection you will need to undertake as part of the programme.

Course tutors

Steve Finnigan

Prof Steve Finnigan

Professor of Policing Studies and Police Leadership

Steve was a police officer for 41 years, until his retirement in June 2017. He worked in Merseyside Police for 24 years and then Lancashire Constabulary for 16 years, the last 12 as Chief Constable. For eight years (from 2009-2017) Steve led for the police service on Performance. In 2006 he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal (QPM), in 2010 he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and in 2017 he was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) in the County of Lancashire. He joined LJMU in September 2017 specialising in police leadership.

With a tight focus on leadership, our students will be exposed to the challenges of police and law enforcement leadership in a changing and increasingly complex environment. Students will examine the pressures brought on decision makers today from political, economic and social influences, both here in the UK and abroad.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

Based within the John Foster Building, in the Mount Pleasant Campus alongside the School of Humanities and Social Science, LCAPS has many outstanding facilities, including well-equipped IT Suites, a light-filled Student Common Room and dedicated postgraduate study areas. At the back of the John Foster Building is the Aldham Robarts Library, which gives access to an exceptional range of materials to support your studies.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum 2:2 Honours degree in Policing Studies, or a police and law enforcement related topic, or Strategic Leadership or any related Social Sciences discipline


  • evidence of your ability to successfully study at Level 7 through the presentation of a strong portfolio demonstrating appropriate equivalent skills in the workplace. A range of written work, reports, evidence of practice development and presentations may be required

Additional information

  • IELTS 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component) or equivalent
  • The programme welcomes students with both prior certified learning and/or applications for experiential learning credits
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Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

Important info about this course