The UK Government has reiterated that chief constables are free to air their views after Dyfed-Powys' top policeman criticised politicians over crime.
Terry Grange became Dyfed-Powys chief constable in 2000
Terry Grange said promises of "absolute safety" were impossible to deliver, and attacked the "hairy chest" approach.
He suggested ministers should defend the result of policy and not be "blown like leaves in the wind" by critics.
In response, the Home Office said that chief constables were free to express their opinions.
In charge of public protection issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, Mr Grange was addressing a conference on dangerous offenders in London.
He criticised the frequent introduction of new legislation, saying that there had been five Criminal Justice Acts in the past five years, compared with about one in each previous parliament.
The latest raft of legislation was due to repeal much of what was introduced by the same government in 2001, he said.
"Instead of careful planned thinking we respond, respond, respond. We get into the male thing, 'my chest is hairier than yours' politics, which bedevils this whole arena of crime prevention."
Mr Grange added: "Ever-tougher legislation is followed by attacks from the media, from politicians, and inevitably from government.
"We have a risk-averse society promised absolute safety and it cannot be delivered."
Plaid Cymru parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd said: "The hairy chest approach has failed.
"There's justification for some legislation, but I would argue that at least half, if not two-thirds of the raft of 750 offences we've created are unnecessary."