Mick Creedon, who runs Derbyshire Police, said controversial proposals debated this week were about ensuring existing powers used "all the time" by police investigations were preserved as technology improved.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "The point is the world of policing, investigating serious crime and terrorism, and actually protecting vulnerable people, depends to a certain extent on accessing some things like core data. The safeguards in place are two fold."
Sixteen Liberal Democrat MPs have sent a letter to The Guardian, in which they have outlined their concerns over the government's proposed changes to surveillance laws
The MPs who signed the letter are: Julian Huppert, Annette Brooke, Malcolm Bruce, Mike Crockart, Andrew George, Mike Hancock, John Leech, Greg Mulholland, John Pugh, Alan Reid, Adrian Sanders, Ian Swales, David Ward, Mark Williams, Roger Williams.
David Cameron has denied that Government proposals to monitor calls, emails, texts and website visits would be a "snoopers' charter". He insisted the moves were needed to keep up with changes in technology and were vital in the effort to tackle serious crime and terrorism.
Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said the government's new proposals on surveillance would lead to minor bodies "getting extended powers in the name of terrorism".
Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz said Theresa May would be questioned by MPs over her plan to bring in new surveillance laws on April 24.
The Home Office intends to bring in powers that would allow emails, texts and website visits to be monitored.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "The Deputy Prime Minister can hardly criticise 'inaccurate speculation' when controversial policies are recycled and leaked to the media rather than published for proper consultation.
"Whether it's shutting down open courts or subjecting the whole population to a Snoopers' Charter, the public will not be reassured by 'trust me, I'm a minister'."
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the BBC Radio 4 World at One Programme: "I think it is very important people hold off making their judgement until they see the proposals.
"There has been a lot of speculation, some of it inaccurate, over the last couple of days. I happen to think it is right to have a debate about what we do as a society as criminals exploit new technologies.
"People should be reassured were are not going to ram something through Parliament. All along we will be guided by some very simple principles."
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Once again we see a very sensitive issue being spectacularly mishandled by this Government.
"It is unclear what they are proposing. It is unclear what it means for people. It is always going to lead to fears about general browsing of people's emails unless they are clear about their proposals, clear about what they would mean, clear about how they are changing the law.
"And I say to the Prime Minister: he has got to get a grip on this Government. He has got to get a grip on the way his Government operates and the way that policy is made."
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "We know that the police and security services who are trying to tackle serious terrorist incidents, of course, need to be able keep up with modern technology.
"We also need serious safeguards in place to protect people's privacy, to make sure there are checks and balances and that nothing is abused."
A Home Office spokesperson said: "As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review we will legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows to ensure that the use of communications data is compatible with the Government's approach to civil liberties.”
They said it was "vital" police and security services could obtain communications data, including time, duration and dialling numbers of a phone call, or an email address, in certain circumstances.
But added this did not included the content of any phone call or e-mail and "and it is not the intention of Government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications."