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  1. ITV Report

Police stop guarding Julian Assange at Ecuadorian Embassy

Julian Assange Photo: PA

The Met Police has withdrawn officers from watching for Julian Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, saying the 24-hour presence of guards was "no longer proportionate".

The force has maintained a permanent, 24/7 police presence outside the building in London since Assange entered it more than three years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex allegations.

The force revealed in June that it has cost more than £11 million to guard the embassy since Mr Assange sought asylum there in 2012.

ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner reports:

The operation to arrest Julian Assange does however continue and should he leave the Embassy the MPS will make every effort to arrest him.

However it is no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence.

– Metropolitan Police Service
A police officer guarding the embassy in August Credit: Reuters

The Met added that it will deploy a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him but a "significant amount of time has passed since Julian Assange entered the Embassy, and despite the efforts of many people there is no imminent prospect of a diplomatic or legal resolution to this issue".

Like all public services, MPS resources are finite.

With so many different criminal, and other, threats to the city it protects, the current deployment of officers is no longer believed proportionate.

– Metropolitan Police Service