Northumbria Police recently posted a picture on Facebook showing firearms officers at the traditional Christmas market in Newcastle, and it has garnered a lot of criticism.
The force explained the deployment, saying: "Don't be alarmed if you do see our armed officers, they are there purely for reassurance and to make people feel safe.
"These patrols have begun following the announcement from the Home Office last year that armed patrols would be stepped up across the country. Our FSU officers are just regular police at the end of the day and if you have any concerns make sure you go and have a chat."
But the policy drew critcism on Facebook, with one person saying it looked like the "Americanisation" of the British police.
"We do NOT NOT NOT want armed police to become the general rule on our streets. More weapons = more danger, not less.
"We do NOT want to end up like America."
But one man responded, saying: "These officers are here for public protection. The world isn't the utopia we'd like it to be unfortunately. This is the real world boys and girls. If a terrorist armed with a firearm or knife started attacking shoppers, the people criticising wouldn't be moaning, I'm sure.
"It seems the atrocities in Paris and Nice are swiftly forgotten by some. Well done Northumbria Police. Stay safe.