Policing Assange Embassy Has Cost £6.5m
Thursday 19th June 2014
It's two years since Julian Assange walked into the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
LBC can exclusively reveal that the cost to the taxpayer has risen to £6.5million - an average of around £9,000 per day.
The Wikileaks founder has been holed up in the building in South Kensington since 20th June 2012 - 729 days or 1,049,760 minutes - as he attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden over an allegation of rape.
According to figures obtained by LBC under the Freedom of Information Act, the Metropolitan Police spent £6.4m on policing the building in South Kensington to the end of May.
Taking into account the 19 days since those figures, the actual amount spent by the force is estimated to be £6.531m.
In the 729 days accounted for in these figures, the policing cost is over £9,000 per day.
The money spent on policing the embassy would be enough to keep 325 bobbies on the beat for a year, while the £9,000 daily cost is the same as it costs to put a child through state school for a year.
Speaking to LBC from the Ecuadorian embassy, Mr Assange told LBC he believes the Met police are aggressively targetting people who visit him.
He said: "The greatest concern for me is the intelligence gathering that the British police are doing on my visitors to the embassy, aggressively demanding their names and identity details.
"Obviously, as an investigative journalist dealing with sensitive documents and with staff under threat, that creates difficulties for me and my ongoing position."
Police are forced to keep guard outside the Ecuadorian embassy in order to arrest Mr Assange if he steps foot on British soil.
He would then be extradited to Sweden to answer the allegations, but Mr Assange believes the Scandinavian country would send him over to the US after he released thousands of highly-confidential documents on his Wikileaks site.