I will proceed to detail what we did, and how you can create a safe atmosphere for your wars with the possibility of civilians walking through.
So, our location was in a small area next to a major shopping centre, and we mainly used the first and second floor of the plaza there. All players were over 17, and there were about 15 of us.
Whenever a non-player walked through, we call "HOLD" to stop play. There were always 3+ referees with markers, and everyone was wearing eye protection.
90% of the weapons had orange tips (a few people had black stampedes, but orange was still showing through). We only used streamlines or blue foam stingers, and most blasters only hit into the 50 foot range (mostly clip-fed reverse plungers). The few longshots were hitting into the 70s, and the one home-made was only using streamlines, so it was limited to around 90 feet.
So, after our 4th round (around 3PM, we started at 11, with 20 minute breaks in between), some police showed up, having recieved a call about some kids using paintball guns. Instantly, we proceeded to show them the darts we were using, an example of oen of the blasters, and explained how we all came from 2 social groups who had been playing here for around 6 months with no complaints so far.
If anything, the police were rather impressed that we had a whole system of referees, the honesty system, and that we could organise such an event without being rowdy or abusive.
Eventually, we were told to move along, but only because someone complained. The senior officer actually said to us that he didn't want to tell us to move on, it was just a matter of procedure.
So, if the police turn up to a war, be polite, show them everything about the sport, and be ready and willing to move to a back-up location if need be.
And now, some tips:
1.) Don't be intimidated. They are people and citizens also.
2.) LISTEN to what they say carefully, then respond. If you think they have something wrong, politely but firmly correct them (had to do that a few times yesterday)
3.) SHOW them the darts, blasters and so on. Emphasise 'toy blasters', always say 'foam' before 'darts' and point out eye protection, referees, first aid kit, water etc.
4.) Ask them for the contact details for the senior officer making the decision on the matter. They'll write them down for you.
5.) Offer them your contact details (if you're organising), and tell them they can call you directly if they have any other problems or complaints.
6.) Discretely note their names and serial numbers. Just in case.
Last edited by Swatsonia on Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:31 am; edited 2 times in total