Security - LHE

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One issue which is often overlooked in living history villages is security. i.e. Making sure that our equipment doesn’t go missing etc. This applies to the actual show as well as the overnight stay.

Shows do vary in respect of security risks, and generally the risk is less if we are camped in a secure location such as an English Heritage castle. Such shows, where the public pay to see us are also less likely to have thieves operating within the public during the day, and experience will in time give you a general feeling about how much ‘active’ security is needed at a show.

We invariably have a good deal of equipment with us in the village ; both our modern day to day equipment and our authentic tools and weaponry. Weapons are especially at risk ; we know where to get them and how much they cost, whereas the average punter has no idea of either. A potential thief may well be tempted in such circumstances to take risks to steal such otherwise unobtainable goods. Subsequently special precautions need to be taken to ensure that things don’t go missing.

When setting up the camp think defensive and arrange tents so as to channel people down routes that you face onto. Where possible rope or fence off spaces between tents to naturally prevent the public from gaining access to the rear of tents. In this way you can try to keep the public to one side of you which makes controlling things much simpler.

During a show ensure that all tools, weapons, jewellery and other valuables are under constant supervision. When you need to go and do other things, such as take part in the battle or simply go to the loo, get another re-enactor to look after your kit, or else at least cover displays or if practical remove them to a safe place. Put tools, especially sharps into tool boxes and place next to or in tents generally away from public thoroughfares.

Do not at any time leave a living history camp with either a fire or sharps unmanned. Ask your neighbours to keep an eye on things if necessary and return the favour if asked.

After a show has finished for the day wherever practical lock valuables in your car. Vehicles can be moved to the LHE campsite for most shows making this task easy, but at certain shows vehicles may not be allowed on site, and/or the car parks may be at a prohibitive distance to readily lock everything away.

In such circumstances keep as many valuables with you. Otherwise check who is intending to stay in the village rather than going to the pub (there is usually someone) and ask them to keep an eye on things generally.

Put all easily carried LHE kit away in tents. If your group has a lot of equipment and nowhere to store it overnight then perhaps you could consider making a small storage tent for group use. Authentic boxes can have authentic locks to better secure valuables ; the size of the box obviously determines the size of the valuables.

Remember that most thieves are opportunists and will not bother risk the time to search properly. Subsequently the risk of theft is significantly reduced if things are out of sight, concealed if no-where else under your bedding.

Larger items which may have to be left outside of tents could be roped together to make theft more difficult, or perhaps noisy if attempted without knowing that things are roped up. This is a good ploy for shields that can readily be roped through the handles.

On a more mundane level, and before you actually go to a show, it is a good idea to somehow mark all of your kit so that if the worst come to the worst and things did get lost or stolen, then there are identifying marks etc. that can help describe them. For insurance purposes it is a good idea to photograph and catalogue all of your equipment. For anyone with a reasonable size of LHE encampment this may take some time, but time well spent.

I guarantee that you will be astonished at how much stuff you actually have and how much money it would cost to replace.