Egypt's defence minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)
Army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has praised the "national role" of the police ahead of Police Day on 25 January – also the third anniversary of the Egyptian uprising.
During a meeting with Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, El-Sisi said: "The police's role in securing the referendum proved to the world that we are capable of providing security for our country."
The comments were quoted on the Facebook page of army spokesman Ahmed Ali.
"The armed forces and the police are the country's defence shields," El-Sisi added.
Protest against police abuses on 25 January 2011 rapidly became an uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Last week, Interior Minister Ibrahim said he was considering changing Police Day to 30 June, which in 2013 witnessed huge protests against president Mohamed Morsi.
Some Egyptians say the 30 June protests led to a reconciliation between the police and the people because the former protected demonstrators from attacks by pro-Brotherhood forces.
Ibrahim's statement came during a phone interview with the privately-owned Mehwar TV channel.
He urged Egyptians to gather on the streets on 25 January to confront "chaos planned by the Muslim Brotherhood" in Tahrir Square.
The 2011 uprising saw the death of approximately 840 Egyptians and more than 6,000 wounded, according to figures released by Amnesty International.
Police were accused of firing live rounds at unarmed demonstrators during the uprising. To date, however, not a single policeman has been convicted.
25 January was chosen as National Police Day after 50 officers were killed by the British in 1952 for refusing to withdraw from the city of Ismailia.