Cologne hit by fresh scandal over New Year's Eve sex attacks
By ALLAN HALL
Last year mobs of mostly North African men sexually assaulted and robbed hundreds of women in and around the city's main railway station as police totally lost control of the situation.
Untrained refugees were deployed as security personnel on New Year's Eve in Cologne last year, according to a secret police report.
- 600 sexual assaults on women were reported in Cologne on New Year's Eve
- The attackers were mainly North African men as police and security lost control
- A secret police report has found many security guards had been hired refugees
- They were paid a pittance and some vanished or were found drinking on the job
- This year Cologne is drafting in 1,500 police officers to patrol on New Year's Eve
It said many abandoned their posts and at least one was so drunk he could not work.
On the night 59 asylum seekers were stationed on bridges across the Rhine to assist in a mammoth security operation aimed at stopping any trouble.
On September 7, 2015 authorities made the decision to give some refugees a role in the policing of the celebrations - a fact which has only just emerged.
The security firm Westturm was in charge of hiring the migrants who were told to have a 'basic mastery of the German language and to bring along warm clothing.'
Bild newspaper today published a list of those who were hired. Most came from North Africa, Syria and Afghanistan.
They were paid just five euros an hour (£4.25) - little more than half of the statutory minumum wage in Germany.
But the city of Cologne was billed three times as much by the security agency which recruited them, said the report.
The calibre of personnel caused concern long before the fateful night.
A former senior executive of Westturm told Bild: 'Our employees collected the refugees in three initial reception centres in Ratingen and brought them in minibuses to the bridges where they were stationed.
'We knew not at all exactly who these people were. They got a security vest and some radios.'
Cologne authorities are taking no chances this year and are flooding the city with 1,500 police - ten times the number on duty in 2015 - to stop a repeat of the disgraceful scenes.
The square in front of the city's train station is now covered by eight police CCTV cameras, featuring a high-resolution zoom function.
Police are particularly worried about the Hohenzollern railway bridge over the Rhine which leads into the station.
There were fears last year that there could have been a crushing incident as masses of people crossed it and trains had to be cancelled.
Refugees were stationed on it to assist in crowd control.
Twenty were also assigned to the Zoo Bridge and others were stationed on the Deutzer and Severnin bridges.
But things quickly began to go awry.
Five of the 20 refugees on the Zoo Bridge vanished from their posts almost immediately - but timesheets of the Westturm firm showed the city was billed five hours for each of them.
On the Deutzer bridge a guard called Arif had to quit his post because he was drunk and his replacement, a man called Süyleman, left after two hours' work.
On the Hohenzollern Bridge refugee Kemal lost his radio and then walked off the job almost immediately after starting his shift.
A spokesman for Cologne city council said it had not had any problem with the Westturm company in the past.Refugees, Police, Assault, Rape, London, new years eve, Police , North African Men, Ineffective