January 8, 2016 12:56 pm

Cologne police chief removed following assaults

People protest in front of the main station in Cologne, Germany, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. The poster reads: "No to Racism, No to Sexism".

AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz

BERLIN – Cologne’s police chief has been removed amid criticism of his force’s handling of a string of New Year’s Eve assaults and robberies.

Cologne police said Friday that Wolfgang Albers is being sent into early retirement by the state government. They said North Rhine-Westphalia’s governing Cabinet will formally discuss the decision on Tuesday but Albers will not return to his job.

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Albers had faced mounting criticism both for the police’s handling of last week’s events and of the fallout.

READ MORE: Cologne mayor accused of victim blaming in wake of alleged sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker suggested Friday that police had held back information from her, and said in a statement that her “trust in the Cologne police leadership is significantly shaken.”

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