Police in Cologne, Germany will deploy helicopters and 1,500 police officers on New Year’s Eve to prevent last year’s sexual assault scandal from happening again.
The city is still traumatized by the more than 1,200 criminal complaints that were filed after the celebrations. The police were blamed for officers’ inabilities to stop perpetrators and bring them to justice, and this year, the police will leave nothing to chance.
“We will have more than 1,500 police officers in Cologne during this upcoming New Year’s Eve and over 100 teams of three officers each in the area of the central station alone,” Christoph Schulte, a spokesman for Cologne’s police department, told Deutsche Welle Sunday. “They will be recognizable by special vests and available at the scene for any possible complaint.”
The number of people will be restricted in crowded areas and video surveillance has been put up to better identify people engaging in criminal activity.
“We will present heavy-duty vehicles, which will partly be in use during this New Year’s Eve, as well as video observation systems, service dogs and other means of control,” the police stated in a recent press release.
A recent report from the Ministry of the Interior shows how officers haven’t been able to identify many suspects from last year. A total of 1,205 criminal complaints have been filed as of Oct. 25, with 509 being for “sexually motivated activities.” Almost 400 more cases of sexual abuse were recorded during celebrations in other parts of Germany.
Six people have been handed suspended jail sentences of between six and 21 months. Prosecutors dropped 369 cases because no offender could be identified, and just over 50 people have at some point been charged on suspicion of participating.
A book documenting the events, titled “The Night that Changed Germany,” will be released Monday. A leaked excerpt reveals how police ignored desperate women’s emergency calls throughout the night.
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