But it would only go ahead if victims wanted the apology and were happy to face the culprits. A senior Labour source said: "We need to make offenders face up to the impact of their actions."

The plans "to ensure that all victims of crime would have the right to an explanation, apology and redress from offenders" is expected to be a centrepiece of the Labour manifesto. It follows trials of the Restorative Justice scheme in Northern Ireland.

It has reduced levels of youth offending and reoffending. Police are expected to oversee the apologies.