In 2005, the location of the G8 summit meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, brought the contested boundaries of the state and the nation to the fore. Confronted by the prospect of significant public disorder police forces in Scotland routinely flagged up a ‘Scottish approach to policing’. Drawing on research with key police officers and others we explore the processes through which national identities come to be articulated, contested and acted out in the context of one particular institution: the police. We consider the claim that policing of the summit was ‘Scottish’ and assess the implications of this assertion. Whilst the police have been argued to be integral to the constitution and expression of nation-statehood we highlight the dangers in an uncritical acceptance of police philosophies and also point to the banal ways in which national identity is naturalised.