Police Spend £10m Guarding Assange Embassy
Wednesday 3rd February 2015
The cost of policing the Ecuadorian Embassy where Julian Assange is hiding out has reached £10m.
LBC can exclusively reveal that the cost to the taxpayer has risen to £10million - an average of around £10,500 per day.
The Wikileaks founder has been holed up in the building in South Kensington since 20th June 2012 - 959 days or 1,380,960 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 £9.0m on policing the building in South Kensington to the end of October.
Taking into account the 96 days since those figures, the actual amount spent by the force today passes the £10m mark.
The money spent on policing the embassy would be enough to keep 343 bobbies on the beat for a year in London, while the £10,500 daily cost is the higher than the cost to put a child through state school for a year.
Speaking last year to LBC from the Ecuadorian embassy, Mr Assange said 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.