An investigation into predatory behaviour within the Red Arrows team has found that unacceptable behaviours towards women were “widespread and normalised.” Two reports into the historical allegations of a toxic culture within the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team (Red Arrows) have been released publicly with a statement by Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton, Chief of the Air Staff.
The unacceptable behaviours include sexual harassment, bullying and an alcohol-focused culture. The reports also found the situation had a “bystander culture”, with people not challenging what was happening.
An inquiry was first commissioned in December 2021 at Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston‘s request after three women approached him with serious allegations about culture and behaviour within the Red Arrows team. Evidence was dated back to 2017 which led to a formal investigation into command, leadership and management of the Squadron.
Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Richard Knighton has offered his “unreserved apologies” and said he was “appalled when he read the investigation’s findings.” In the statement, released on Wednesday, November 1, Sir Richard Knighton also said the behaviours described by witnesses in the reports “have no place in the Royal Air Force – or anywhere else” and that actions have been taken against a number of individuals, up to and including dismissal from the Service.
Sir Richard said: “I would like to make it very clear today that where appropriate, I will not hesitate to use the most severe sanctions available to me to deal with those whose behaviour harms others.
“Anyone who has experienced, or witnessed unacceptable behaviours where they work can raise their concerns with their command chain. If, however, they prefer to remain anonymous, there are confidential helplines available to service personnel and organisations that can help if you have been a victim of workplace bullying or harassment.
“We will take any complaint seriously and it will be thoroughly investigated, in line with the MOD’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.”