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New police chief for Cologne after New Year's Eve sexual assaults

Jürgen Mathies will take over as Cologne's new police chief, according to media reports. Police were severely criticized after failing to prevent robberies and sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Ralf Jäger is planning to appoint central police services chief Jürgen Mathies as Cologne's new police director, media reports said on Tuesday.

The imminent appointment comes weeks after the present director, Wolfgang Albers, was severely criticized for his bad management on New Year's Eve, when hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed near Cologne's central train station. Albers was subsequently sent into temporary retirement.

Listen to audio 05:22

Tensions rise in Germany after sex attacks

The police union welcomed Mathies' possible appointment as the chief of Cologne's police force, which has 5,000 employees and is the largest in North Rhine-Westphalia. Union head Arnold Plickert said that Mathies was an experienced officer and that he could help restore "people's trust in the police."

Mathies joined the state police service in 1977, according to the regional office's website. He has supervised several regional police offices in and around Cologne and was part of a nationwide group responsible for internal security for the football World Cup in 2006. His current position involves coordinating deployments of task forces and special teams.

Regional officials, including Cologne's mayor Henriette Reker, NRW's Interior Minister Ralf Jäger and the police have been under severe criticism after more than 1,000 men of North African and Arab origin sexually assaulted and robbed hundreds of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Watch video 03:11

NYE sexual assaults in Cologne

mg/jlw (dpa, AFP)

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