The Czech Republic will no longer detain Syrian refugees trying to reach Germany, police have said, making it the latest country to abandon European asylum rules as unprecedented numbers of migrants apply for asylum.

“We consider it ineffective to keep these people in detention centres” said police spokeswoman Katerina Rendlova about the policy to detain refugees, who had applied for asylum in Hungary but were trying to travel onwards, for up to 42 days.

Faced with unprecedented numbers of people seeking refuge, the past month has seen temporary border controls between Italy and Austria, reintroducing internal borders throughout the EU’s Schengen passport-free zone of 26 member states. The European Commission has condoned the Austrian border checks, but is understood to be wary of giving the green light to any larger moves.

Significant pressure is being placed on states to increase humanitarian intakes, with Germany receiving 100,000 asylum seekers in August alone.

The increasing numbers of people seeking refuge in Europe is more evidence that policies of deterrence are not effective.