Some British police officers in remote rural areas could be armed as a matter of routine.
The move is because of a lack of specially trained counter-terrorist personnel.
UK police only carry firearms when a higher level of security is deemed necessary for example at airports and train stations, or for high profile events like a royal wedding.
Armed units also respond to terrorist attacks and use of firearms by criminals.
The UK's capacity for armed response was beefed up after the Paris terror attacks of 2015 that killed 130 people.
Senior officers are concerned about the time it would take a firearm unit to arrive at the scene of an incident in a remote area.
British police said arming officers in remote rural areas would only happen as a last resort.