A 35-year-old Mill Bay man was arrested at gunpoint at the Duncan Christmas Kick Off celebrations Friday night after having been seen waving a large knife while walking through a group of teens.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officers had been at the event on proactive foot patrols anyway but were quickly called to a different type of action.

The arrest startled some onlookers as police drew their guns and pointed them at the accused, who "was still brandishing the knife and displaying aggressive behaviour," according to police.

"A witness to the arrest stated 'Isn't that a bit excessive?' referring to the officer's handgun. This officer made split second decisions to protect others and himself, and succeeded without injury to anyone," explained Staff Sgt. Chris Swain. "You will see us in a visible way, carrying firearms at public events such as this, Remembrance Day and other events for community safety and security."

Detachment spokesman Sgt. Trevor Busch said officers carry many tools on their belts and have extensive training in order to safely deal with a wide variety of threats to the public.

"The duties of a police officer can be dangerous and I would like to remind everyone that if you see an arrest taking place, or an officer with their firearm out, please keep back at a safe distance and appreciate that you may not know all the details leading up to the arrest," Busch said. "Our officers are invested in our community, we love to attend community events and give out candy canes, but ultimately we are there for your safety."

Weapons-related charges are being recommended as a result of the incident.

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