This paper presents data concerning young people's perceptions of the police taking part in a police-schools liaison programme. Eighty-one 14-year-old school pupils took part in 28 semi-structured group discussions concerning their perceptions of the 'typicality' of police officers working in their schools. Pupils clearly differentiated between these and those 'on the street'. Central to this differentiation was the issue of police power; the perceived atypicality of the police in schools was intimately bound up with pupils' perceptions of the qualitatively different social relations that obtain between young people and the police 'in the school' and 'on the street'. The implications of these data for the literatures concerning the 'contact hypothesis' and police-schools liaison are discussed.