Howard League for Penal Reform chief executive Frances Crook says the Home Secretary missed an opportunity with her speech at the Police Federation annual conference.
She told ITV News: "I think the Home Secretary's speech was a bit of a missed opportunity. She gave them a sop of mandatory life sentences for the killing of a police officer, which I think is a nonsense because people who kill a police officer will spend almost all their life in prison anyway.
At the same time, she spent a large part of her speech criticising them for all sorts of failures, which is a missed opportunity to give them some encouragement for a complicated job they do, dealing with a whole range of social, economic...mental health issues, as well as crime fighting.
"And I think she failed to understand that."
The Police Federation hopes the Government will to "listen to and acknowledge" issues affecting its members at this year's conference.
"We are reforming the police force to make sure it is equipped for the challenges of the future", says the Policing minister.