The multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded police guard on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s London refuge has been discontinued after three very expensive years.
The Metropolitan Police Service said the operation, which reportedly cost the public purse some $A25 million, was no longer viable, according to Sky News sources.
The founder of the whistleblowing website has hid in the embassy since 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sex-related criminal charges.
In a statement, London police said Assange’s arrest was still sought, but added: “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.”
The embassy containing Mr Assange was given an around-the-clock guard.
He was initially arrested on a warrant in 2010 and Swedish prosecutors sought his extradition from Britain.
Mr Assange sought sanctuary from Ecuador because he feared being sent to the US to face prosecution for Wikileaks’ disclosures if he handed himself to Sweden.
Ecuador granted Mr Assange political asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention.
In a recent interview, Mr Assange said he had seen little sunlight or fresh air for nearly three years.
“There are security issues with being on the balcony. There have been bomb threats and assassination threats from various people.”