“The 22 July Commission’s report is a milestone. It has put the facts on the table. It gives us a common understanding of what happened. It gives us a basis for learning. And most important, it gives us a basis for taking further action,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
The 22 July Commission was appointed by the Government in consultation with the Storting (parliament) in the wake of the terrorist attack on 22 July 2011.
“After a preliminary run-through the report, my clear impression is that we have been given what we asked for: a report that is truthful and without embellishment.
The facts that have been established appear credible, and the analyses seem sound, even though some parts of the report make uncomfortable reading,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
The Commission has presented six key findings, as well as recommendations on a number of action points.
“The Commission has revealed significant weaknesses. It is too soon for me to comment on all aspects of the report. Out of respect for the extensive task the Commission has taken a year to complete, we should be careful not to draw too many categorical conclusions just a few hours after the report has been presented.
“However, there are some comments I can already make today. More security and emergency preparedness measures should have been implemented sooner. It took too long to close the road outside the government offices, Grubbegata. It took too long to arrest the perpetrator. And the police could have got to the island of Utøya faster. These are facts that I deeply regret,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
Review of the police
Mr Stoltenberg announced that the Government will initiate a thorough review of the police.
“The Commission’s report has revealed extensive problems in the police. This is serious. The Government will therefore initiate a thorough review of the police. I have already asked the Minister of Justice and Public Security to follow up this part of the report. This is in line with the mandate Grete Faremo received when she was appointed Minister of Justice and Public Security: the responsibility for public security is to be clarified and strengthened,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
“If there is one thing we have learned from 22 July, it is that impatience is important. That is why we haven’t waited for the Commission’s report before taking steps to strengthen our emergency preparedness,” he added.
He emphasised that the Government has already implemented a number of measures on the basis of lessons learned from the attacks on 22 July, including the following:
- The police and the Police Security Service (PST) have been allocated additional resources.
- Helicopter readiness has been strengthened.
- Cooperation between the Armed Forces and the police has been enhanced.
- The central crisis management has been improved in a number of areas, through regular emergency preparedness meetings at government level, round-the-clock manning of the crisis support unit, enabling the Ministry of Justice and Public Security to take a more proactive role, and the establishment of a special security department in the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform.
On the basis of the 22 July Commission’s report, the Government will present new measures for strengthening emergency preparedness. These will be presented in a white paper, Mr Stoltenberg announced.
“I have also requested the President of the Storting to allow me to address the Storting on the follow-up of the report. In this way, the Government wishes to invite the Storting to take part in a cooperative effort to build a safer and stronger Norway,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
Facts about the 22 July Commission
The 22 July Commission was appointed by the King in Council on Friday 12 August 2011. The mandate and composition of the Commission was determined in consultation with the political parties in the Storting.
The mandate of the 22 July Commission set out that it was to examine the ability of the authorities and society as a whole to:
- disclose plans of attacks and prevent attacks
- protect themselves against and reduce the consequences of any future attacks, and
- deal with the situation during and after such events, including taking care of the injured and relatives of those killed or injured. The Commission was also requested to take into consideration the fact that so many of those affected on 22 July were young people.
The Commission was to propose measures for improving preparedness and response in the future. It was also free to consider other factors and measures it deemed necessary.
The Commission was independent of the Government and the Prime Minister's Office. It completed its work on 10 August.
The Commission was led by lawyer Alexandra Bech Gjørv. The other members of the Commission were:
- Former Chief of Police in Hordaland, Ragnar Line Auglend, Bergen
- Former Police Commissioner in Copenhagen, Hanne Bech Hansen, Hillerup, Denmark
- Researcher Laila Bokhari, Oslo
- Former CEO of NSB Einar Enger, Rakkestad
- Lt General Torgeir Hagen, former head of the Norwegian armed forces' intelligence services, Hamar
- Professor Guri Hjeltnes, Oslo
- Former Vice President of the Norwegian Red Cross Linda Motrøen Paulsen, Stavanger
- Chief County Medical Officer Karin Straume, Vadsø
- Police Chief Inspector Stefan Gerkman, Finland