Has the UK spent millions of pounds to track a fugitive other than Assange?
Lets remind ourselves of the timeline
- August 2010 - Assange visits Sweden, two women report rape. After being questioned, Assange leaves Sweden.
- 20 November 2010 - Interpol issue a red notice for Assange's arrest.
- December 2010 - Assange granted bail by a UK court.
- 19 June 2012 - Assange enters Ecuadorian Embassy.
- 12 October 2015 - Metropolitan police cease monitoring of embassy.
- May 2017 - Swedish prosecutors drop investigation of alleged rape.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on Monday said the operation to arrest Assange continued but it was “no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence”.
Note that, if my timeline is correct, the Met dropped the expensive 24 hour surveillance years before the Swedish police ceased investigating the rape allegations.
The major cost was incurred at a time when the alleged crime was rape, not when the alleged crime was breaking bail conditions and failing to attend court.
In order to formulate an answer to this or to understand any answer, you need to define a few things
The legal entity making this expenditure is the Metropolitan police. It is entirely their choice how they allocate their budget to individual criminal investigations.
It is actually very rare for fugitives to be granted asylum and remain in London for three years. So it would be hard to find a directly equivalent prior case that matches Assange's in all respects
People alleged to have committed serious crimes such as rape are rarely fugitives in London for that many years after an arrest warrant has been issued. So there may be no exactly parallel cases whose costs can be compared.
However, it is not unusual for the Metropolitan police to fruitlessly spend millions of pounds investigating alleged crimes.
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that one of its high-profile child sexual abuse investigations, Operation Midland, cost £2.5m in total.
It includes staffing costs and overtime expenditure, Scotland Yard said.
The figure comes after the Met said it would be unable to calculate the cost.
The inquiry investigated historical claims of sex abuse and murder made against establishment figures. It closed in March without any charges being brought.
In this case the suspects were not fugitives, but if they had been, there is good reason to expect that more money would have been spent, not less.
UK police forces do often spend millions of pounds trying to track down the location of a single person in order to bring an investigation to a conclusion.
Of course, Corrie Mckeague wasis not a fugitive, just a missing person.