Since 2003 many hundreds of Australian police officers have served in police peace-keeping and capacitybuilding missions in Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. Working within bilateral or multilateral engagements, these police have encountered significant differences in legal and policing cultures as well as political and community environments. This paper considers how these experiences influence Australian police officers' thinking about policing in general, and how they view the legacy of their service. It explores the extent to which Australian police think they have had their own capabilities altered by the very processes through which they attempt to build the capacity of host police forces. We label this process 'reverse capacity building' and argue that there is a major benefit for domestic policing from such engagements.