The police and private police both play a major role in the provision of protection. This paper provides a summary of the changing status of these two groups, and canvasses some of the problems associated with this complex issue. It discusses the purposes served by the police and private protection communities; how they interact; and how they might develop. It highlights the uneasy relations between the two groups. This is caused by police concern at private security's intrusion into police domains. A table of private security legislation is included.