August 26, 2022 11.52 am This story is over 22 months old

Addressing ‘toxic’ Red Arrows culture is top priority, says RAF chief

Reportedly there are at least 13 behavioural issues to address

By Local Democracy Reporter

Following reports of a “toxic” culture within the RAF Red Arrows, the head of the Royal Air Force has written to personnel stating that concerns around conduct will be treated as a priority.

In recent weeks, the Red Arrows have been at the centre of controversy. According to various news outlets, an ‘under the table’ inquiry was launched into the behaviour of those within the aerobatic display team.

The inquiry, launched by the RAF’s chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, has seen more than 40 personnel allegedly testify to an investigation that was launched late last year.

Reportedly there are at least 13 behavioural issues to address, including claims of sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation, indecent exposure, drinking and sexual assault.

Little has been disclosed publicly about the investigation, which should have concluded in May but has been subject to delays, but the BBC is now reporting that a letter has been sent to personnel by the head of the RAF, explaining the force’s stance on these allegations.

Secretary of State of Defence Ben Wallace (far right) watching the SkyGuardian aircraft flying over RAF Waddington. whilst standing alongside RAF Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston (far left) and Air Vice Marshal Lincoln Taylor RAF’s Chief of Staff Capability (left). | Photo: Sgt Nicholas Howe RAF

Air Marshall Sir Mike Wigston apparently told RAF personnel: “You will be well aware of the ongoing focus on the Royal Air Force in the media and on social media, on a number of topics, over the past weeks.

“I am acutely conscious that the coverage affects us all – whether regular, reserve, civil servant, or contractor – as well as our families and loved ones; and there are legitimate questions being asked which I am determined we will address as a priority.”

Sir Mike went on to say that the RAF would be taking “swift action” to put right any concerns his staff may have, while also asking that future issues are raised through the chain of command rather than whistleblowing to the media.

Also within the letter was a renewed goal of having 40% women recruits and 20% from ethnic minority backgrounds in a bid to diversify the force.