Police governance and accountability in Scotland have always been high on the political agenda. When considering both terms it is important to focus on who instructs the police to take a particular course of action and who gives them the means to do so. In the past, in Scotland, the position was fairly clear as it had a tripartite system of police governance with central government, the chief constable and the local police authority each having a role to play in the oversight of the police. All parties went to great lengths to ensure that the police were responsive to local needs and that neither level of politician interfered with the chief constable’s ‘operational independence’ safe in the knowledge that the police were still accountable to the rule of law and to the courts of the land. Now that Scotland has a national police service with signifi cant changes to their constitutional set-up and the addition of non-elected players in the form of the Scottish Police Authority, the question arises as to who oversees the Scottish police and who are they accountable to in twenty-fi rst-century Scotland? At the same time ‘new accountabilities’ in the public sector have a direct impact on the police, such as Audit Scotland, Inspectorates, and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner. The key issue now in the twenty-fi rst century is how these changes will impact on the independence of the police and whether the developing system of police governance is adequate in the present day.