The cost of policing the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been staying for almost eight months, has reached £2.9 million, Scotland Yard said today.
Metropolitan Police officers have been stationed outside the embassy in Knightsbridge around the clock since last June.
The Met said that the estimated total cost of policing the Ecuadorian embassy between last June and the end of January is £2.9 million, of which £2.3 million is opportunity costs - police officer pay costs that would be incurred in normal duties - and £0.6 million in overtime.
A spokesman at the Ecuadorian embassy told the Press Association: "The Ecuadorian government is concerned by the significant cost to the taxpayers of London of policing the embassy at the present time.
"However, we believe this expenditure could be avoided if the UK Government would provide the undertakings that the Ecuadorian government has sort that there will be no onward extradition of Julian Assange to the United States.
"The Home Office has the power to offer such an assurance but has so far declined to do so. Until we obtain these undertakings, the Ecuadorian government will continue to protect Julian Assange's human rights that are enshrined in international law."
Mr Assange, who is fighting extradition to Sweden on sex charges, which he denies, amid fears he will be sent to the United States, has been granted political asylum by Ecuador.