The employment of private security guards has increased in many European countries in recent decades and the Netherlands is no exception. However, despite large increases in the growth of the private security industry, little is known about how the public perceives agents of private policing and their role in crime prevention and enhancing the public's sense of safety. In this paper we examine public perceptions of private security personnel. More specifically, we examine citizens' attitudes toward the nature of security guards' work, their relationship with public police, and their level of satisfaction with private police services. Findings suggest that, on the whole, Dutch citizens have mixed opinions about private security guards. Nonetheless, contrary to what is often assumed about the public image of private security, findings also suggest that respondents tend not to view the nature of security guards' work and their professionalism in purely negative terms. Contact with security guards was a key predictor of satisfaction with guard services. © The Author(s) 2010.