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RAF investigates video of 'troops sexually assaulting airman in initiation ritual'
13 March 2021, 08:49 | Updated: 14 March 2021, 09:45
The RAF is investigating an "offensive video" that appears to show troops sexually assaulting an airman during an initiation trial.
A spokeswoman said the force's RAF Police Special Investigation Branch has launched a probe into the incident after the footage was obtained by the Daily Mail.
The newspaper said the video showed a naked airman being held down by drunken troops before they allegedly assaulted him.
On Friday, an RAF spokeswoman said: "We have been made aware of an offensive video involving Royal Air Force personnel.
"The RAF Police Special Investigation Branch is now investigating the incident shown in the video.
"It would be inappropriate to comment further while investigations are ongoing."
The force said it does not tolerate bullying or initiation ceremonies, adding that any individual not maintaining these standards would be investigated and appropriate disciplinary action would be taken.
A criminal investigation is also under way, according to the newspaper.
On Thursday, Conservative chairman of the Commons defence committee Tobias Ellwood, said: "Thankfully this deplorable incident does not reflect the high standards of behaviour now exhibited across all three services and huge progress made in removing the culture of initiation practices that have no place in our modern military.
"But this incident, however isolated, will temporarily damage the fine reputation of the RAF."
He added: "The Ministry of Defence will need to act swiftly and purposely to repair this damage – not just because past generations of our flying heroes would demand it – but because recruiting the next generation of pilots and personnel will be all the more challenging."