Changes in Norway’s societal safety and security measures following the 2011 Oslo terror attacks

Studio Apertura

​This paper characterizes changes in Norway’s civil protection and emergency preparedness five years after the Oslo and Utøya terror attacks. Data from 48 interviews conducted in the period 2014–2016 with civil servants within different levels of the justice sector were qualitatively analyzed. The inductive analysis shows four main changes made related to Norway’s civil protection and emergency preparedness within the Ministry of Justice and Public Security: (1) a change in risk perception regarding awareness of security-related risks; (2) the generation of several plans and measures; (3) structural changes at various levels within the justice sector; and (4) increased resources allocated to societal safety and security.

The changes following the Oslo terror attacks were not solely in response to the terror attacks, but also the result of previous and subsequent events and reports. The current organization of public administration, however, still fosters siloed thinking and turf wars around the principle of responsibility and each sector’s respective area of expertise. Most of the implemented changes can be characterized as structural; diagnoses made after the terror attacks pointed at cultural aspects.​