From its very inception until the 1870s, the Hong Kong police force was frequently criticised from all sides for its inefficiency. The 1872 Police Commission represented something of a break with both, its attempts to encourage a more ‘local’ police force were periodically undermined by a pervasive distrust of the Chinese, which intensified during periods of local unrest and turmoil on the Mainland. For a colonial regime lacking popular legitimacy, internal security concerns were always present, fuelled partly by the fear that, if domestic and Mainland discontents ever united, they could challenge British rule in Hong Kong. Charged with civil affairs duties as well as maintaining internal security, it frequently found itself required to perform a wide variety of tasks with poor resources. Internal security was thus the constant backdrop against which all other government policies proceeded. Intrusions from within and without the colony frequently interrupted the administration’s best-laid plans and intentions.