By politics.co.uk staff
Senior police chiefs have denied claims by the Conservatives that they have leaned towards the government's policies.
A Tory briefing document said the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has given "political cover" to Labour initiatives while having "publicly and privately lobbied against a number of key Conservative issues", the Times newspaper reported.
It even accused Acpo of having engaged in "gratuitous photographs" with ministers.
The briefing document was reportedly prepared by David Cameron's strategy and policy unit and comes amid speculation that a Tory government would overhaul Acpo.
It reportedly criticised Acpo's structure, saying it had accrued active policing roles despite being a private body and calling it a "gravy train" for ex-police officers.
Sir Hugh Orde, current president of Acpo, defended his organisation's right to defend the police.
"If any party comes up with policies which we think will increase the risk to the public, then we will have no hesitation in stepping up to the mark and telling them our view," he said.
An ICM poll for the News of the World released at the weekend showed the Tories' lead on who would best cut crime had slipped from 21% to just nine per cent.
The same poll suggested the overall Conservative lead over Labour had increased to nine points, however, in a reversal of recent narrowing trends.