You are paying for the bobbies on the beat on your street.
But who's making the decisions about what they do?
Radio 4 gains unique access to those at the top, to ask who's in charge - local communities, police authorities, chief constables or the home secretary?
As crime becomes more sophisticated, Britain is moving towards the American model, with a British FBI looking after major crime, while local forces deal with minor problems.
And these local forces are likely to be amalgamated into bigger regional forces.
The BBC's former Home Affairs Correspondent, Jon Silverman, asks whether that could create a Britain where the police become entirely disconnected from their local communities.