“The perpetrator could have been stopped earlier.” That is the verdict of an official report, criticising the way Norwegian authorities responded to last year’s deadly attacks by Anders Behring Breivik.
The government set up a commission to learn lessons from the tragedy. But its findings will make unhappy reading for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
Both he and Norway’s Police Director are accepting responsibility for security failings.
“I feel responsible for the criticisms, being the head of the police,” said police chief Oystein Maeland.
“It affects the whole police establishment. There are also recommendations in the commission report that ask for wide and comprehensive improvements within the police to strengthen its preparedness to contribute to a safer society.”
Breivik detonated a car bomb outside
government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people on July 22 last year. The building should have been better protected, having been identified as a security risk.
Police were slow to react, says the report, and struggled to reach Utoeya Island as he gunned down 69 mostly teenagers attending a summer camp held by the ruling Labour Party.
Authorities had become aware of Breivik’s suspicious activities months earlier. He admits the attacks but denies criminal guilt and will be sentenced later this month.