THE Cologne police chief has been “removed from his post” after sex attacks by ‘migrants gangs’ in the German city – and there are fears such incidents could spread across Europe.
Authorities are growing increasingly concerned by the rising number of sex attacks against women by gangs of migrants which initially happened in Germany and have spread across Europe.
Women have been warned not to go out at night alone after sex attacks similar to those in Cologne, Hamburg and Stuttgart were reported in Finland, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.
The revelations come after Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers was ousted from his post amid public fury over a spate of sex attacks against women on New Year’s Eve.
German police have faced a barrage of criticism after over a hundred women were robbed, attacked or sexually assaulted during new year celebrations outside the city’s cathedral by as many as 1,000 drunk, aggressive men described as of “Arab or North African origin”.
Terrified women were subjected to the humiliating and terrifying attacks which were likened to ‘running the gauntlet’ in an internal police report.
At least 170 crimes, 117 of which involved sexual assault, have been reported to police in several cities across Germany.
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker suggested police had held back information from her and that her “trust in the Cologne police leadership is significantly shaken.”
Mr Albers was informed by the state interior minister Ralf Jaeger he would be given early retirement after accusations of a police cover-up, according to German media.
The 60-year-old has been relieved of his duties “to restore public trust in the police” following sharp criticism of his handling of the attacks in the city, a state government source said.
His dismissal came as Austrian police confirmed they are investigating a number of reported sexual assaults by migrants in the city of Salzburg.
Some of the suspects are said to be from Afghanistan and Syria.
Austrian authorities have denied a cover-up and said victims had only been encouraged to come forward after hearing about the spate of sex attacks in Germany.
Police in Vienna have advised women not to go outside alone in the capital, while Finland and Sweden issued warnings urging women to be vigilant.
A number of teenage girls in the Swedish town of Kalmar have also reported being sexually harassed on New Year’s Eve.
Several women have reported robberies and sexual assaults in Zurich, Switzerland, while an unusually high level of sexual assaults were also reported in Helsinki, Finland, on New Year’s Eve.
Helsinki deputy police chief Ilkka Koskimaki said: “There hasn’t been this kind of harassment on previous New Year’s Eves or other occasions for that matter.”
“This is a completely new phenomenon in Helsinki.”
The suspects who are accused of carrying out the assaults at Helsinki’s central railway are asylum seekers, Ms Koskimaki confirmed.
Scores of women from German cities have come forward saying they were victims of the shocking crimes, which included rape, sexual assault and robbery.
The majority of the attacks took place in Cologne, where police have received 121 criminal complaints – three quarters of which were sexual assault.
Similar attacks were reported in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Franfurt and Weil am Rhein.
More than half the suspects that have so far been detained over the attacks in Cologne are asylum seekers.