§ Sir Robert Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what guidance his Department has issued concerning arrangements for consultation between the police and the local community in each police force area; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McLeish
The Justice Charter for Scotland requires police forces to consult their local communities and take their views into account when setting standards of service and deciding priorities. In addition, guidance was issued to police forces in March 1998 about the way in which "User Surveys" should be designed to measure public opinion on the police service. I am satisfied that police forces in Scotland fully appreciate the value of local consultation; have the necessary arrangements in place to engage with the public; and use the consultation process to inform their decisions on policing policy and priorities.
From 1 July 1999 this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.