Just Culture or Toe Cutting

Toecutter: In Australian police slang, ‘Toecutter’ refers to members of the internal Ethical Standards Division (including such groups as the former Office of Police Integrity in Victoria). You can read this as Safety. Example Toe Cutter In the world of criminality, the Toecutter is just a rat. Symbolically the Toecutter represents a form of torture in order to get evidence. In Australia, Chopper Reid is perhaps the best example of a Toecutter.

In recent days I was setting up a post on LinkedIn when I noticed the following diagram


This is a total anathema to what Social Psychology of Risk (SPoR) stands for.

· This is putting labels on a person.

· This is a person blaming tool.

· This is a reason to sack a person.

· This is how Safety brutalises a person.

· This is never about persons, this is a tool of Power.

· The tool is linear and sequentially fabricated.

· Endorses the myth of ‘root cause’.

· Somehow miraculously ends up with ‘no blame error’.

· It is not about Justice or Culture.

· This is the semiotic of a Toecutter!

Individual Culpability in the sliding scale at the bottom already tells you the result of the investigation. Such is the power of this tool. Severe Sanction can only mean one thing. There are even consequences for a no blame error!

Imagine seeing this model at a job interview! and your interviewer is Chopper Reid in a high vis vest! For a bit of R rated comedy on Chopper here is a sample (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4rSZP0nNCc). Chopper also does on OHS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahmw7mpPa0Q).

But seriously, and comedy aside, what kind of ‘justice’ and ‘culture’ is created by this kind of model? Look where every arrow heads down, to punitive outcome. And the only one who can get to the no blame error at the end is Mother Theresa.

The reality is, Safety doesn’t need these models nor the Toecutting associated with them.

If you want to know about a positive, constructive and practical approach to risk perhaps tackle the free online Introduction to SPoR workshops (https://vimeo.com/showcase/4233556 ). It’s not an easy thing to start with little support. So, when you have started, send me an email and I’ll be happy to respond to questions or have a conversation: matthew@riskdiversity.com.au

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