Since the turn of the millennium 'Community Policing' has become a significant and widespread element of everyday policing in poor rural and urban areas of Mozambique. This development is not unique to Mozambique, but reflected globally. Community policing (CP) has since the 1990s enjoyed widespread popularity as a philosophy and strategy of 'democratic policing' that seeks to substitute centralised, paramilitary-style state policing with active citizen inclusion in policing. In Mozambique, councils of community policing members have been formed since 2001, with the purpose of reducing crime as well as making the state police more transparent and accountable to the public. This paper explores how community policing has been appropriated in practice in Mozambique. It asks what CP has meant for everyday policing practices, and what it has implied for the ways that public safety and justice provision is organised in different local arenas. A key focus is on the interaction of actors enrolled in CP with state officials as well as with other non-state institutions that engage in conflict resolution and assert some form of authority locally. The paper shows that everyday practices not only deviate from the original CP model launched by the Ministry of Interior, but also that CP has given way to new layers of collaboration, overlap and competition between different state and non-state policing and justice providers. This result, the paper argues, is only partly caused by the lack of a clear legal framework. It is equally informed by the fact that policing itself is an avenue to power, prestige and resources over which different actors compete. From a human rights and rule of law perspective, this poses key challenges: CP actors mimic problematic state police practices in their attempts to assert power, even as they help to reduce crime.