The costs of policing Julian Assange’s residency at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London soar to beyond £4.2 million
By the time of the first anniversary of Julian Assange’s arrival at the Ecuadorean Embassy in Hans Crescent on 19th June, the cost of policing his “stay” will have come to the astounding sum of over £4,200,000.
At any one time there are eight officers on duty and a police conference van has been parked opposite the embassy building for many months now also.
The daily cost is said to be around £11,600 and at least one officer waits on the steps of the embassy at all times ready to arrest Mr Assange if he leaves the buildings. Others are said to question visitors inside ready to question the Wikileaks founder during opening hours, in case he should decide to try and escape in disguise.
Support for Assange outside the building has dwindled. As someone who regularly walks past the building, I often get a wave from the somewhat reduced band who stand in vigil. There’s never more than five of them at anyone time and sometimes there aren’t any at all. One, a retired railway inspector named Jim Curran, is there most days however and equally a jolly little lady never misses a chance to enthuse about the man she describes as “wrongly persecuted”.
In conversations I’ve had with the police, though, they’ve repeatedly stated their frustration at having to stand around waiting for Mr Assange to emerge. One told me that he thought the whole situation was “getting ridiculous” and another added: “We just wish he’d clear off back to Australia”.
Mr Assange: You’ve made your point. Your presence in Knightsbridge has cost millions and now it’s time to hand yourself in and face the music. If you are innocent, after all, you’ve got nothing to fear.
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All images © Matthew Steeples