After spending over £12 million and achieving very little, the Metropolitan Police have decided that there’s little point in keeping officers stationed outside the Ecuadorian embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has resided for the last three years.
While the coppers have prevented Assange from fleeing, they’ve got no closer to actually arresting him. That so much cash has been haemorrhaged for the sake of essentially watching a door makes the situation all the more embarrassing.
"The Metropolitan Police Service has to balance the interests of justice in this case with the ongoing risks to the safety of Londoners and all those we protect, investigating crime and arresting offenders wanted for serious offences, in deciding what a proportionate response is," said the Met. Obviously, sticking a couple of bobbies outside the front door is no longer considered ‘proportionate’.
The British authorities haven’t given up all hope yet though. "The head of the Diplomatic Service, Simon McDonald, summoned the Ecuadorean Ambassador today to register once again our deep frustration at the protracted delay,” said a Foreign Office spokesperson. "The UK has been absolutely clear since June 2012 that we have a legal obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden. That obligation remains today."
Assange set up shop at the embassy back in 2012, in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden over a rape allegation he denies. He believes that, if he was to be moved to Sweden, he would subsequently be transferred to the US and put on trial for releasing secret US documents.