A merger of the three forces in the North East of England is the only way forward for policing in the region, according to one of the authorities.
Northumbria Police Authority has recommended the creation of a single strategic force.
This would cover the existing Durham, Northumbria and Cleveland force areas.
The government has requested proposals for possible mergers or other alternative solutions which would enable the creation of larger forces.
Northumbria Chief Constable Mike Craik said: "This solution will, we believe, continue to provide the best possible service to all the people of the region while addressing the issues in the recent HMIC report."
Councillor Mick Henry, chair of Northumbria Police Authority, said: "A re-organised police authority will ensure that any revised police force is still accountable to local people and considers their views when setting local policing priorities.
"Because the key elements of accountability and effectiveness will be preserved - I think we should look for the new advantages we will get from a larger, north-east police force.
"These changes will give us the ability to make even more improvements - crime has not stood still over the past 20 years and nor should we."