The remarkable growth of private security has focused attention on the increased vulnerability to poor standards and malpractice among those now reliant upon it. A common international response to this increased risk has been the introduction and/or reform of ‘special’ industry regulation. New Zealand is no exception. Here, the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act (2010) updated governing regulation first introduced in 1975. This article presents a critical assessment of the regulatory framework supplied by the Act and the form or modality of regulation it represents. Informed by original New Zealand research on the vexed issue of industry standards and professionalism the article contends that the new regulatory framework is insufficiently comprehensive in scope to achieve its primary aims of raising standards and reducing risk. The article, therefore, advocates a move beyond an exclusive dependence on a state centred ‘command and control’ approach that since the mid-1970s has proven largely unsuccessful and toward a more pluralistic, ambitious regulatory model within which the state constitutes just one, albeit significant, node or ‘site’ of governance.