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The head of a German police union is criticizing the creation of a special safe zone for women at the annual New Year's Eve party in front of Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate.

The comments come amid an ongoing debate in Germany about how to tackle an increase in sexual assaults.

In 2015, a large number of assaults and robberies targeting women at Cologne's New Year's Eve celebrations horrified Germany, the BBC reported.

The safe zones are guarded by members of the Red Cross.

Rainer Wendt, chairman of the German Police Union, said the idea of a safety area sent a "disastrous message" that there are "secure and insecure zones".

The number of rapes and sexual assaults recorded in Germany previous year rose 12.8 per cent compared to 2015, to 7,919 cases, an increase blamed on an influx of asylum-seekers, many young and male.

The number of rapes and sexual assaults recorded in Germany a year ago rose 12.8 percent compared to 2015, to 7,919 cases, an increase blamed on an influx of asylum-seekers, many young and male.

Experts note that migrants in general aren't more likely to commit crimes than German citizens, but the proportion of crimes they commit may increase as they start to make up a larger share of the population.

The team behind the Brandenburg Gate party, which is scheduled to take place later tonight, have sought to remove the fear born of the Cologne events by creating a zone specifically for women who feel threatened, or have been the victim of an assault.

The legislation, passed in July 2016, also made it easier to deport foreign nationals convicted of sex crimes.

Police said they also arrested a 16-year-old girl after she repeatedly threw fireworks at police and confiscated 44 illegal pyrotechnic devices they found in her possession.

A spokesperson for the event told The Guardian that the "safety zone" would have psychologists on hand to provide counselling for distressed women.

People demonstrate against racism and sexism in Cologne, Germany in the aftermath of a string of New Year's Eve sexual assaults and robberies on January 9, 2016.

Other security measures in Berlin include concrete blocks to prevent vehicle attacks and bag searches at entrances to the party area.


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