Red Arrows sexism row as female recruits ‘dubbed fresh meat in WhatsApp group’

Ministry of Defence chiefs have launched an investigation into the iconic flying group Red Arrows after claims of misogyny, bullying, drunkeness and sexual harassment in the "toxic pocket" of the RAF.

Forty people have supplied 250 hours of evidence to an inquiry which began earlier this year, according to The Times.

Among these people aiming to shed a light on the "toxic pocket" of the RAF are several young female recruits.

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"At the moment many females are at risk because there are numerous toxic pockets within the air force, but there is no urgency to act," a source, one of the forty people, told The Times.

She added that female recruits were considered "fresh meat".

Another source helping with the inquiry said that the allegations about the Red Arrows were only the "tip of the iceberg".

The source said that members of the squadron would start "pestering" young recruits as soon as they joined.

They would "bombard" them with WhatsApp messages, she added.

"The girls who join the squadron are basically considered fresh meat," the source said.

"All of them are married and they just don't leave them alone. It's a toxic environment … It's all men in senior positions. It is run by misogynistic white male blokes."

Members of the Red Arrows, based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, have also been accused of drunkenness, but an RAF spokeswoman said the allegations were “unfounded”.

The Times reported that the title understood that the non-statutory inquiry has so far documented at least 13 alleged behaviours.

These included misogyny, harassment, sexual harassment, assault, "misunderstanding of consent", sexual assault, victimisation, bullying, intimidation, isolation and indecent exposure.

Speaking to PA, Diane Allen, a 30-year British Army veteran and outspoken critic of the treatment of women in the force, said RAF leadership has not dealt with the issues.

Allen said the women who made the allegations had been put "on trial and forced to tell their story repeatedly" as those accused had been "supported, promoted".

She said: "The leadership is brushing it under the carpet."

An RAF spokesman said: "The RAF has a zero-tolerance approach to unacceptable behaviour and takes action wherever wrongdoing is proven.

"Following allegations of unacceptable behaviour within the Red Arrows, the RAF commissioned a thorough and far-reaching investigation. We will not be commenting further on the individual circumstances of specific personnel moves, which have been made without prejudice and are the result of both personal and professional reasons."

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