Copenhagen Police on Monday warned that mass attacks on women, like those that took place in Cologne and other European cities, could also happen in Copenhagen.
Possible ISIS connection
The attacks in Cologne saw groups of drunk and aggressive men – described as looking ‘North African or Arabic’ and recently confirmed to be from a ‘migrant background’ – surround women and sexually assault them.
The Cologne attacks appeared to be highly orchestrated. Although no group has taken responsibility for it, media outlets such as the Daily Mail and the Australian claim that one of the accused was a friend of a Syrian IS supporter, Walid Salihi, who was recently shot dead outside a Paris police station. Salihi may also have been involved in the assaults.
Jørgen Skov, a chief superintendent of Copenhagen Police, attended a meeting with senior police officials on Monday to discuss what measures could be taken to avoid such an eventuality occurring in Copenhagen.
“The attacks may well appear at first sight to be an international trend. We have to discuss how the police can minimise the risk of that happening during a Copenhagen event,” he said.
He also said that police would co-ordinate with event organisers of upcoming events such as Distortion and the Copenhagen Carnival to ensure that precautions are in place.
“Every time we plan our efforts, we must consider whether there is a risk of abuse. Then we will discuss with the organisers about how best to avoid the risks,” he added.
Currently, a group of employees at the Copenhagen Police are investigating police reports from recently-held events to make sure that such attacks have not occurred in the past.
Skov urged women who have experienced such abuse to get in touch with the police immediately.
However, he was careful to add there was no need for women to panic and that they should go about their day-to-day lives without the fear of being assaulted.
Copenhagen Police has stepped up its focus on efforts to counter a wave of violence towards women last year.
This was due in large part to events in the autumn of 2015 when at least 23 women in Copenhagen reported being assaulted by a man who “groped their breasts and licked their skin”.
The perpetrator, nicknamed ‘Lollipop man’, is a 33-year-old Albanian who has now been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted rape and four counts of indecent exposure.
Copenhagen Police expect the man will soon be charged with “a great deal” more, said deputy police inspector Jens Møller Jensen.