Acpo's role to be examined by Sir Nick Parker
A retired general will lead an inquiry into whether an association for senior police officers is fit for purpose.
Sir Nick Parker will examine the work of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners requested the review in light of policing changes, such as the introduction of elected commissioners and the College of Policing.
Acpo said it was a "logical step".
Acpo is partly funded by police forces, whose money is controlled by police and crime commissioners (PCCs).
Sir Nick, who led the military support for Olympic security at London 2012, which involved 18,500 personnel, said of the request: "[PCCs] largely fund the organisation and want to ensure that it is fit for purpose, both operationally and financially."
The inquiry will examine whether Acpo is a "cost effective use of public money", Sir Nick added.
The College of Policing, the new professional standards body, started work in February.
'Times of need'
The National Crime Agency (NCA) will begin operating next month, bringing together the work of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and some of the functions of the National Policing Improvement Agency.
The PCCs, elected in November 2012, replaced police authorities in the 41 force areas of England and Wales.
In a joint statement, Staffordshire PCC Matthew Ellis, Dorset's Martyn Underhill and Merseyside's Jane Kennedy said: "We respect the operational independence of the police but, as representatives of the public, we need to ensure that Acpo continues to have relevance to the policing challenges of today."
According to Acpo's website, it acts as a forum for senior officers to discuss the "direction and development" of police forces, and co-ordinate the police's strategic response at "times of national need".
Acpo president Sir Hugh Orde said: "Chief officers worked closely with PCCs to agree Acpo funding for 2013/14 and support this more fundamental and strategic review as a logical next step."
He said the police and public benefitted from a "facility" for leaders to meet, but he said it was "timely to look again" at the role of Acpo.