A college of policing will be set up to improve standards and professionalism among officers, the Government said today.
The college, which will take over some functions from the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) when it is scrapped at the end of the year, will represent all officer and staff ranks and be led by an experienced senior officer, the Home Office said.
Its aim will be to share best practice among officers, develop professionalism and set standards for specialist skills training such as investigation, intelligence and firearms, the Home Office said.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The police service must be radically reformed in order to meet growing challenges and deliver the most effective service possible.
"At the core of this reform will be a new College of Policing which will be representative of all officer and staff ranks and led by the service itself, to ensure that officers have the right training and skills for the future.
"Together with directly-elected police and crime commissioners and the new National Crime Agency our reform agenda will improve policing, delivering better value for the taxpayer and give the public a stronger voice."
Officers will not have to pay to be a member or to train and sit exams, and the college will not issue policing licences, the Home Office said.
But it will take over the Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo's) current role in developing national standards and police practice.
It will also be responsible for a string of NPIA functions, including exams and assessments, the National College of Police Leadership, uniformed operational support, some specialist training, and the NPIA's research, analysis and information unit.
The Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales said the college would give the service "an opportunity to further improve all aspects of policing and to elevate our professionalism for the benefit of the public".
Derek Barnett, the association's president, added: "The creation of the college provides an opportunity for the service and some of the best universities in the world to work more closely together and in a way that will prove attractive to police forces across the world."
But he said it "must never lose sight of the need for integrity, courage and character in our police officers", particularly after the death of Pc Ian Dibell, who was shot dead by gunman Peter Reeve in Clacton, Essex, last week.