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Preferred candidate for Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service announced

Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, has selected Rick Hylton as his preferred candidate to become the next Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Rick is currently the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of the Service and was selected following a rigorous and competitive process. He came out ahead of a strong field of national and international candidates from both fire and rescue services, public and private sector organisations, with the rest of the interview panel unanimously supporting his selection.

Roger will present Rick as his preferred candidate to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel at a statutory confirmation hearing that will take place on October 21st.

Roger said: “Rick’s selection is well deserved. He is an out-standing individual who has already contributed so much to both the Service and Greater Essex as co-chair of the Essex Resilience Forum, helping to lead Essex as we worked through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He is highly respected as Deputy Chief Fire Officer, building trusted relationships within the Service as well as with partners and communities across Essex. He will continue to build on the great work and progress the Service has made and I, along with the rest of the recruitment panel, were impressed with his aspirations to take the Service forwards.”

Rick Hylton said: “I feel truly honoured to have been selected as the preferred candidate in this process for the Chief Fire Officer. I am privileged to be the Deputy Chief Fire Officer here at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, and I welcome the opportunity to have been shortlisted to become CFO for the Service and to continue working with my colleagues.”

Photo of Rick Hylton

Rick Hylton has been selected as the preferred candidate for Chief Fire/Chief Executive of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Rick Hylton Biography

Rick joined Cambridgeshire fire and rescue service in 1997. Having worked in a variety of roles he was appointed Head of Community Safety in 2010, where he delivered a progressive approach to targeted home safety.  Focusing on data sharing arrangements with partners to identify, triage and deliver to the most vulnerable. Rick established the first joint education and enforcement team with Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Police, in addition to implementing the services first volunteer scheme.

During this time Rick led a review of the protection function implementing the business safety competence framework including the up skilling of operational crews and delivering the county’s business safety hub. A joint initiative between district and county council that built upon primary authority schemes to provide business with a simpler process to access advice from a range of regulators. In 2015 Rick led the service to achieve Excellence in Equality and inclusion.

In 2016, Rick was appointed Assistant Chief Fire Officer with responsibilities for service delivery and operational support, where he led the Service IRMP implementation including changes to crewing systems and the introduction of portable misting systems for vulnerable persons. Rick was also the executive officer responsible for leading Cambridgeshire through the first HMICFRS inspection process.

In 2019, Rick joined Essex County Fire and Rescue Service as the deputy chief fire officer. Rick has responsibilities for strategic planning, assurance and performance and is the strategic lead for collaboration, working with partners to deliver on the Police Fire and Crime Commissioners local business case. In 2020 Rick was the co-chair of the Essex Strategic Coordination Group for the Covid 19 pandemic.

Rick has led the Home Safety Committee since 2015. In addition, he was the NFCC gold group lead for prevention through the pandemic response.

Rick has a master’s in public administration from Warwick University. He is married with two children.



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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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