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Covert plan at Ecuadorian Embassy strengthened after removing dedicated guards

News   •  Oct 12, 2015 13:59 BST

Metropolitan Police Service strengthens covert plan at Ecuadorian Embassy after removing dedicated 24/7 guards.

Since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in June 2012, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has maintained a police presence at the Embassy. 

Julian Assange was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in December 2010 and his extradition ordered him to answer serious criminal allegations in Sweden. He is subject to arrest under Section 7 of the Bail Act, for failing to surrender to custody on 29 June 2012 for removal to Sweden.

Whilst the MPS remains committed to executing the arrest warrant and presenting Julian Assange before the court, it is only right that the policing operation to achieve this is continually reviewed against the diplomatic and legal efforts to resolve the situation.

As a result of this continual review the MPS has today Monday, 12 October withdrawn the physical presence of officers from outside the Embassy.

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.

The MPS will not discuss what form its continuing operation will take or the resourcing implications surrounding it. 

Whilst no tactics guarantee success in the event of Julian Assange leaving the embassy, the MPS will deploy a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him. 

This decision has not been taken lightly, and the MPS has discussed it with the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

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.

The MPS 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. 

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.

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