RAF personnel sacked after claims of ‘unacceptable behaviour’ among Red Arrows

The RAF said it will ‘continue to take decisive action against anyone who fails to uphold our high standards’  (PA Wire)
The RAF said it will ‘continue to take decisive action against anyone who fails to uphold our high standards’ (PA Wire)

The Royal Air Force says it has sacked personnel following allegations of “unacceptable behaviour” from members of the Red Arrows.

The RAF said the action was a result of an inquiry that revealed “a broad range of unacceptable behaviours” at the world famous aerobatics display team.

Several personnel were investigated under the RAF’s Major Administrative Action Procedures after allegations of misogyny, bullying and sexual harassment were made.

More than 40 personnel, including young female recruits, reportedly provided 250 hours of evidence to an inquiry which began earlier this year, describing the aerobatic display team as “toxic”.

While there were no criminal cases to be answered, investigations led to dismissals from the RAF, it said in a statement on Friday.

“The inquiry recommended a variety of measures to improve behaviours and culture on the unit. Many of these recommendations have already been implemented and all are being pursued as a priority.

“They included actions to improve understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable and how to stop unacceptable behaviours. The whole team has received extensive training on unacceptable behaviours and ‘Walk on By’ cultures.”

The RAF said it’s important for unacceptable behaviour to be “called out” and said it takes all allegations of this nature “extremely seriously”.

The RAF said it will “continue to take decisive action against anyone who fails to uphold our high standards”.

In August claims emerged that the RAF’s head of recruitment refused to follow an order to prioritise women and ethnic minority candidates over white men because she believed it was “unlawful”.

Asked about the allegations, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, head of the RAF, told Sky News: “There was absolutely no drop in operational standards, no drop in any standards.

“There was no discrimination against any group, no standards were dropped, there was no discrimination against any group.”

However, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson acknowledged that “despite the best of intentions, some mistakes were made” in its approach.

Formed in 1964, The Red Arrows are the Royal Air Force’s aerobatic display team, and they’re instantly recognisable by their distinctive red Hawk jets.

The team has been putting on displays since it was formed and is now in its 58th season. As the “public face” of the RAF, they act as ambassadors for the UK at home and overseas.

The Red Arrows had flown almost 5,000 displays in 57 countries, and their team is made up of pilots, engineers, and support staff. They are based at the RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.