This paper engages with literatures on democratic policing in established and emerging democracies and argues for disaggregating democratic policing into two more precise terms: policing for democracy and democratically responsive policing. The first term captures the contribution of police to securing and maintaining wider democratic forms of government, while the second draws on political theory to emphasize arrangements for governing police actors based on responsiveness. Applying two distinct terms helps to highlight limitations to external police assistance. The terms are applied in an exploratory case study of 15 years of police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The paper highlights early work securing the necessary conditions for political democracy in BiH but argues that subsequent interventions dominated by the European Union undermine responsiveness. A recent United Nations Development Programme project suggests that external actors can succeed in supporting democratically responsive policing where they do not have immediate security interests at stake. (c) The Author(s) 2013.