In 1960, the Bristol Police Commission was established under Chapter 19-16 of the City of Bristol Charter. The police department falls under the general supervision of the board of police commissioners.
There are six members of the commission and one of these members is a city council member. The mayor is also a member of the commission, ex-officio, and is chairperson of the police board.
With exception of the city council member, each commissioner is appointed for a period of three years. A police commissioner is nominated by the mayor and is subject to approval by the Bristol City Council before holding the volunteer position.