18/04/2012 06:51 BST | Updated 18/04/2012 07:50 BST

Phone Hacking Scandal: Police Pass On Files On Four Journalists To Prosecutors

Eleven suspects have been referred to prosecutors by Scotland Yard's phone-hacking squad.

The cases of four journalists, one police officer and six other individuals are being considered, director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said.

Offences under consideration include misconduct in a public office, data protection act breaches, perverting the course of justice, witness intimidation and breaches of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa).

Starmer refused to give a timescale for a charging decision but said: "We are now entering a period where we are likely to make a decision one way or another."

Some of the suspects referred to in the files have not been questioned by police yet, the DPP said.

A total of 43 people arrested under the various operations sparked by disclosures of phone-hacking at the News of the World remained on bail, Mr Starmer added.

The announcement came as Britain's top prosecutor published guidelines setting out how journalists may have broken the law.

Starmer said the new rules would help lawyers with the "very difficult decisions".

"The decisions we are going to make are going to be extremely difficult and extremely sensitive," he said.

"We have got to make a decision because these cases are coming. We cannot duck that."

The four files include:

:: One journalist and a police officer accused of misconduct in a public office and data protection offences;

:: One journalist and six other individuals accused of perverting the course of justice;

:: One journalist relating to witness intimidation;

:: One journalist in relation to a breach of Ripa;

Starmer said: "These just happen to be the four files we have got, there may be others. We don't know."

He said the files relate to four investigations being carried out at the Metropolitan Police: Weeting, Elveden, Kilo and Sasha.