Both the above quotes come from US big city police chiefs. The fi rst is from an article by Boston Police Commissioner Robert Di Grazia, which appeared in the British Police Federation magazine. The second is from a chapter by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, published in an Institute of Economic Affairs book puffi ng the supposed achievements of ‘zero-tolerance’ policing. The two quotes are separated by much much more than just two decades in time; they are redolent of fundamentally different eras. They stand on either side of a remarkable global turnaround in political economy, culture, policing, penality and the politics of crime and criminal justice. Di Grazia evokes a discourse in which crime control and peace-keeping were seen as fundamentally problems of political economy not policing. Bratton embodies a born again can-do optimism in the powers of criminal justice: let off the leash, tough policing and punishment can provide public protection and security.