Emergency law to resolve bail crisis

Emergency laws are to be rushed through Parliament to tackle the sudden crisis in the bail system, the Policing minister Nick Herbert said yesterday.

Following a court ruling this week, police officers can no longer release suspects on bail for more than four days without either charging or freeing them. The Supreme Court will consider the issue later this month as alarm grows that offenders will have to be released as police will not have time to compile the evidence against them.

Mr Herbert said the new laws, which Labour has promised to support, were essential to enable officers to do their jobs without "one hand tied behind their back".

However, Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, accused ministers of a "catalogue of incompetence".

She said they had known of the potential problems with bail regulations for more than a month and still were not ready to tackle them.