Implicit in the concept of negotiated orders is an understanding of the social productivity of political power; the power to accomplish governing programs for citizens as much as the power over citizens for the purposes of social control. This distinction is especially pertinent for the role of political analysis in critical criminological thought, where criticism of the authoritarian state has vied with studies of governmentality and governance to explain the exercise of political power beyond the State and with the distinction between politics and administration found in liberal criminology. Outside of criminology, political economists interested in the 'power to' govern suggest its analysis in terms of 'regimes' of advocacy coalitions that struggle for the capacity to govern complex problems and populations in specific social contexts. Regime formation or failure can differ in character, and in outcomes, as much within nation states as between them and in relation to different kinds of governing problems. The article considers the applicability of regime theory to the negotiation of 'public safety', a governing problem which is a particular focus for political analysis within criminology. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.