Denmark's police chief says his officers have been ordered not to stop hundreds of refugees and migrants who have entered the country via Germany.

Jens Henrik Hoejbjerg says it is purely a police decision, adding Danish officers "can't detain foreigners who do not want to seek asylum (in Denmark)."

In Thursday's statement, Hoejbjerg said the National Police took the decision late Wednesday. There was no immediate reaction from the Danish government.

Under EU rules, people seeking asylum should do so in the first EU country they enter and not travel from one country to another.

Many of the migrants say they want to go on to Sweden, Norway or Finland, because they have relatives there or believe that conditions for asylum-seekers are better.