Police will have to abide by a new code of ethics similar to the hippocratic oath taken by doctors, the Home Secretary has said.
Speaking at the College of Policing this morning, Theresa May said it was "astonishing" that the guidelines were not already in place.
A national register of officers who have been sacked from the service will also be set up for the first time.
Mrs May said: "It's astonishing that the police have not had an explicit code of ethics, an equivalent if you like to the hippocratic oath for doctors.
"I think it will prove vital for establishing and maintaining fundamental ethical standards for police officers."
The College of Policing launched a consultation on the new code today, and it is expected to be published in the spring.
Her comments follow a series of events that have shaken confidence in the police, including the renewed inquiries into the Hillsborough disaster, revelations about undercover officers and rows surrounding "Plebgate".
Mrs May said that plans to expand the powers of watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), first announced in February, are on track and that it will take on additional cases next year.
The proposals were outlined as the watchdog took on a new investigation into the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, the biggest ever probe into police misconduct in the UK.
The Home Secretary said: "I know that some forces and PCCs (police and crime commissioners) are resisting the transfer of resources necessary for the IPCC to take on this bigger role, but I want to say very clearly that the events of last year prove overwhelmingly the case for a beefed up IPCC, and that's what I'm determined to deliver."
Yesterday MPs grilled three police officers caught up in a row over a meeting with former chief whip Andrew Mitchell in October last year, following the "Plebgate" incident.
Police Federation representatives inspector Ken MacKaill, detective sergeant Stuart Hinton and sergeant Chris Jones initially claimed that Mr Mitchell had refused to tell them what he said during a foul-mouthed rant at officers in Downing Street the previous month.
But they were later accused of giving misleading statements and could now face disciplinary action.
Mrs May added: "Where the IPCC has needed new powers, for instance in its investigation of Hillsborough, we have legislated to provide them, and if the evidence of the past week shows we need to go further, we will do so."