The Home Secretary has told police leaders to focus on cutting crime instead of lobbying the Government for more money.
Amber Rudd said decisions about funding needed to be based on "evidence, not assertion".
She called on police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to tell residents how they will make them safer, rather than writing press releases asking for extra cash.
It comes after a string of senior figures raised concerns about police resources following recent terror attacks and a rise in levels of recorded crime.
Ms Rudd told an audience of PCCs and chief constables that ministers would listen to their concerns but also "critically evaluate" them.
She also insisted that the public did not want to hear about disagreements over how cash was provided to forces.
Ms Rudd accepted that part of being a PCC was about speaking to the Government about resourcing.
But added: "It mustn't just be about lobbying the Government for money.
"It needs to be about cutting crime, delivering on the priorities you were elected on and being held to account by local people in your area when you don't.
"So when crime stats go up, I don't just want to see you reaching for a pen to write a press release asking for more money from the Government.
"I want you to tell your local communities and the victims in your area what your plan is to make them safer."
Ms Rudd acknowledged that an increase in complex investigatory work and an unprecedented wave of terror attacks had put pressure on forces.
But she told the summit in London that police now hold more than £1.6 billion in cash reserves, while inspectors have made clear "greater efficiencies" are still available.
Earlier, one of Britain's most senior police officers warned that rises in recorded crime could not be dismissed as a "blip".
Sara Thornton, chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said offences involving knives, guns and serious violence had increased significantly.
She asked: "So could this be the beginning of the end of the great crime decline?"
Last week, data revealed the number of offences recorded by police had topped five million for the first time in a decade.
The data also showed increases in the numbers of recorded knife-related crimes, thefts, frauds and sex offences.
Ms Thornton also flagged up record levels of 999 calls and growing "non-crime demand" to "bridge gaps" in local services.
Warning that the police service was "stretched", Ms Thornton said it was clear that the Government's 2015 "flat cash" settlement for forces was "unsustainable".
Ms Rudd noted that the Crime Survey for England and Wales - which is a separate measure to police recorded crime - shows a 9% fall over the last year, but she acknowledged there are "genuine" rises in some specific offence types.
She also reasserted the Government's commitment to making changes to rules on police pursuits so officers feel they have the legal protection they need to go after moped and scooter gangs.