SAPOL Response to Knife Incident at Glenelg Shows ‘Concerning Contempt Towards a Victim of Crime’


The world’s most useless police force has once again demonstrated its complete indifference to victims of crime.

Carol Hartlett (above right), director of a Glenelg real estate agency, received a threatening phone call from a mentally ill woman on Monday morning, April 22, 2024.

Ms Hartlett called the police, but they dismissed her concerns.

Later that day, the woman burst into Ms Hartlett’s Byron St office and threatened five staff with a knife. The woman, Lisa Bowes, 47, had been released from the Margaret Tobin mental health facility earlier that day.

The lack of police interest occurred despite an incident involving Ms Bowes five days earlier. On Wednesday April 17, Ms Bowes was found at the back door of the property holding a knife. Police and paramedics attended and Ms Bowes spent the following days receiving treatment for a psychotic episode.

After receiving the threatening call, Ms Hartlett visited the Glenelg police station a short time later to ensure the first incident had been recorded and to report the phone call.

Despite the previous incident involving Ms Bowes, a disinterested officer at the station told Ms Hartlett “they’re just idle threats” and “people often don’t go through with this”.

“It was a very casual approach to my concerns,” she said.

“When I walked out I thought ‘(the officer) could not have cared any less if she tried’.”

Ms Hartlett, property manager Dee Wood and three other staff were in the office when Bowes allegedly entered with a knife at 3.15 pm.

Ms Wood said staff locked themselves in an office as Bowes allegedly banged on the door.

“I was shaking … I was just petrified something was going to happen,” she said.

Ms Bowes was tasered, arrested and charged with assault and possession of a knife in a public place.

Ms Bowes’ family said they told doctors she was not well enough to be discharged – then on the morning of the attack emailed the state’s chief psychiatrist to warn she intended to return to Glenelg with a knife.

Ms Hartlett said the incident was preventable.

“There were so many warning signs. With these random stabbings like Bondi, there’s no warning signs,” she said.

“But we had multiple warning signs and they were absolutely ignored.”

Ms Bowes told a court hearing last month she had suffered traumatic experiences at the Byron St property, which had occurred prior to the occupancy of Century 21.

She was remanded in custody ahead of another appearance this month.

When contacted by The Advertiser in late April, SAPOL declined to comment on the basis that the matter was before the courts.

However, on Wednesday, police commissioner Grant Stevens had plenty to say on ABC Radio Adelaide’s breakfast program.

The notoriously pig-headed Stevens denied Ms Hartlett’s concerns were dismissed by the officer at Glenelg station.

“That’s the allegations of one person regarding their experience with a police officer,” he said.

By dismissing Ms Hartlett as a sole, inconsequential person, Stevens revealed what he really thinks of individuals who expect the taxpayer-funded police to do the job they are paid to do.

The reality Stevens prefers to ignore is that Ms Hartlett is hardly the only person to have suffered a bad experience with officers from the corrupt and useless SAPOL.

“The police officer at the station logged that on our system, recorded the incident and made a connection, based on the information given by the person reporting, connected that incident to the person (Ms Bowes) who was detained on the 17th of April,” Stevens said.

“There was no other information, no other follow-up. So the police officer in the station did their job.”

“There’s not much more they could do,” claimed Stevens, whose failed District Policing Model has seen SAPOL go from bad to worse.

At SAPOL, doing the absolute bare minimum is standard procedure for tasks that involve assisting the public instead of harassing and extorting them.

Asked whether police should have acted on the report in the subsequent hours, Stevens claimed police did not know Ms Bowes had been released from hospital.

He said she had been detained under a mental health provision following the April 17 incident.

“In those circumstances, police are not advised of a person’s release,” he said.

In light of the threatening phone call, the police could have put down the donuts and made some enquiries, but the primary goal at SAPOL is to make it to the end of one’s shift with as little effort as possible.

Ms Hartlett said that arrangement “isn’t good enough” and should be fixed.

“It’s up to (Mr Stevens) to enforce these things and to make these changes. Don’t just say ‘this doesn’t happen, too bad’,” she said.

She said the officer should have called the hospital to ensure that Ms Bowes was still a patient, instead of assuming she was still detained.

“(Mr Stevens) can try and fob it off all he wants but he wasn’t there. There’s two sides,” she said.

Commenting on Stevens’ appalling response, Advertiser writer Kathryn Bermingham writes:

“There’s not much more they could do? Simply wait for the terror to unfold? The outcome could have been catastrophic.

Even more astonishingly, Mr Stevens thought it appropriate to pick a fight with a victim of crime who had suffered a traumatic event and raised a legitimate concern.”

An independent review is now looking into the exchange of information between agencies, and why authorities failed to act on multiple warnings in the lead-up to the attack.

A separate review, oversighted by the Office for Public Integrity, is examining the alleged conduct of the police officers involved.

Whatever the outcome, Der Kommissar Stevens has already absolved his agency and officers of any wrongdoing in a scathing public attack on an innocent victim of crime.


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