Derbyshire Police chief constable Peter Goodman says says branding a climate change group as "extremist" in a police terrorism guide was a "big mistake".
Extinction Rebellion was included in a counter terrorism guide by forces in south-east England tackling ideological extremism, which then prompted a storm of criticism.
The group often uses controversial tactics and has carried out headline-grabbing protests across the county that have been designed to cause huge disruption.
The guide has now been withdrawn, which Mr Goodman - who used to be in charge of counter terrorism in the East Midlands - welcomed.
"As professionals we have to police protests when it happens and Extinction Rebellion are a protest organisation, but we have to appropriately police them," he said.
"I believe climate change is a real thing. Under our stewardship the world is getting worse, and it's getting worse for our children and grandchildren, and I think the way Extinction Rebellion are peacefully bringing the attention of the world to these matters is actually a really laudable thing."