Theresa May
Damian Green said the move would stop people languishing in '"legal limbo" (Reuters)

Police bail should be capped at four weeks to stop people languishing in "legal limbo", according to a former Conservative police minister.

Damian Green, who served as the Coalition's minister of state for police and criminal justice from 2012 to July 2014, is one of the signatories of a letter sent to the Daily Telegraph calling on the Home Secretary to reform pre-charge bail.

The group of MPs, lawyers and campaigners said more than 5,000 have been on police bail for at least six months and warned that innocent people have been left on bail for years.

"Their careers are put on hold, and the mental anguish of not knowing what will happen is in itself a form of punishment without trial. There is no right of appeal," the letter read.

"These individuals are innocent until proved guilty, but justice delayed is justice denied.

"Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has called for a time limit for pre-charge bail.

"We believe it should be a maximum of 28 days, reviewed by a judge and not by police. The government must act swiftly to turn words into action."

The letter was also signed by Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League of Penal Reform, and Lord Paddick, a former senior officer at Scotland Yard.