Police Commissioner Oystein Maeland made the first official apology since the July 22 attacks, The Foreigner, Raege, Norway, reported.
"I apologize on behalf of the police that we did not succeed in apprehending the perpetrator before. Every minute was one minute too much," Maeland said.
The commissioner said "it is difficult knowing that life could have been saved if the perpetrator had been arrested before."
Breivik set off a car bomb outside the government's headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people. Then, dressed as a police officer, went to Utoya Island, outside the capital, where he opened fire on a Labor Party youth camp, killing 69 others.
A police committee's analysis of officers' performance during and after the massacre had cited 54 areas for improvement.
Breivik is charged with carrying out acts of terror and premeditated murder. Under the so-called "terror paragraph," for the first time in Norway's history, prosecutors claimed he disrupted society and created fear, The Foreigner said.