Dutch policing has followed the three generations of community policing identified elsewhere. The paper outlines the three waves, arguing that progressive Dutch society has influenced policing styles, giving Dutch policing a strong social orientation. The material draws on action research projects from the 1970s and 1980s and current innovations with special attention to developments in Amsterdam and Utrecht in which the authors are involved as researchers or consultants. Following models from the USA there is a tendency to run hard and soft features of policing together. Contemporary community policing has then both a problem‐solving and a crime‐control rhetoric. New‐style community beat officers are better integrated into the organisation and are strongly involved in crime prevention. Difficulties arise in areas that are not conventional communities, such as inner cities, with a diverse public, an accumulation of social problems side‐by‐side with "entertainment", and a potential for public order disturbances. Policing in The Netherlands has changed significantly in recent years to an emphasis on problem solving, partnerships with other agencies, crime prevention, fostering self‐reliance among citizens, and sponsoring the return of early social control mechanisms in public life – in schools, transport and with “town patrols” on the streets. Police have taken others on board and have relinquished their monopoly on safety and crime.