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Predatory behaviour normalised in Red Arrows

Predatory behaviour towards women was "widespread and normalised" according to an investigation into a toxic culture in the RAF's Red Arrows display team.

The non-statutory inquiry was launched in 2021 after three women went to the then head of the RAF about complaints they had made which had not been addressed by their chain of command. The inquiry covers a period dating back to 2017.

The report added that it was highly likely women had to deal with unwanted physical contact, unwanted sexual text messages, comments about their appearance and invitations to have sex.

The review team said it was particularly concerned about predatory behaviour towards female personnel – with some of the reports not treated with any seriousness and openly joked about.

Chief of the air staff, Sir Richard Knighton, said he was appalled by the findings and "unreservedly" apologised.

Robert Courts, chairman of the Defence Committee, said the inquiry findings showed there were "serious cultural problems running deep within the unit".

He said: "It is particularly concerning that the investigators warn that the squadron was not a safe environment for females, concluding that it was 'highly likely' that women would be subject to illegal sexual harassment.

"No service personnel should be made to feel unsafe by their colleagues. These are the very people who should protect them."


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