A radical review of police pay and conditions is needed to deliver the frontline services people want and "nothing will be off-limits", Home Secretary Theresa May has said.
Mrs May said the review, the most comprehensive in more than 30 years, aimed to bring modern management practices into policing to help forces cope in tough economic times.
The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, has warned that up to 40,000 officers' jobs could be at risk if Government spending cuts of 25% are announced in this month's spending review.
Mrs May said: "We need radical solutions to improve policing - nothing will be off-limits in this review. It is vital we have a modern and flexible police service to meet the ever-changing demands placed upon it.
"By bringing modern management practices to the police, this review will help ensure chief constables can deliver the frontline services people want, while providing the value for money that is so vital in the tough economic times we face."
Sir Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, has warned police "retreating from the streets" has led to anti-social behaviour gaining momentum in recent years.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) backed the review, saying he was pleased it would "recognise the unique status of police as office-holders who must be available to respond to need at any time and have no ability to strike".
"Chief officers are absolutely committed to doing all they can to ensure that frontline policing services are protected," he said. "We believe that the development of a modern pay and reward framework is essential and timely.
"What is required is a scheme that treats officers fairly and recognises their hard work, while providing chief officers with the critical flexibility to respond to the current financial challenges."
Rob Garnham, chairman of the Association of Police Authorities, said the time was right to ensure that police pay was "fit for purpose for policing in the 21st century and, importantly, enable forces to meet the enormous financial challenges ahead".