A row has broken out involving the chief constable of Greater Manchester and the Home Office over reported comments about police budget cuts.
Peter Fahy was reported to have said that cuts could lead to vulnerable people being put at risk and "Whitehall doesn't get it".
The Home Office responded by saying the reported remarks were irresponsible.
But Mr Fahy said the reports had missed his main point, that budget cuts meant they had to change the way they worked.
"I did not say that cuts to public spending could lead to more tragedy, but I think the public accepts that budget reductions mean we need to change the way we work and transform public services," he said.
"My main point is that the budget reductions are an opportunity to reduce complex procedures and unnecessary bureaucracy.
"We need to have an intelligent debate about the cuts and see the opportunities, not just the threats."
He said Greater Manchester was trying to have police officers, health professionals, social services and youth offending teams working together in a joined-up approach to tackle problems, rather than each dealing with separate incidents.
"For example, a lot of police hours and cost are spent responding to calls to a number of chaotic families," he said.
"If we can integrate the way we work with other public bodies, and work cleverer with more imagination then we can achieve a lot more with the money available."