Essex's new fire chief 'not tangled up' in service's toxic past

Rick Hylton, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's new Chief Fire Officer

Rick Hylton, Essex's new chief fire officer - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS)

Essex's new fire chief has been named.

Rick Hylton, who was previously a deputy chief fire officer, has replaced Jo Turton as chief fire officer at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Ms Turton stepped down after more than three years in the role in the summer.

She had been praised for improving and addressing the "intimidatory culture" steeped in "dangerous and pervasive bullying" which was found in a 2015 inspection, which described the culture at ECFRS as "toxic".

Mr Hylton - who was appointed at a special meeting of the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel today (October 29) - said he would focus on growth and building capacity within the service, as well as improvements to the working culture.

He said: "I understand there remains a lot to do but I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together so far, and excited about what can be achieved in the years to come.

"It is my motivation to make a difference in the context of the chief fire officer's role.

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"That means creating an environment in which my staff can flourish and in turn hold ourselves to account to deliver the best possible service to local communities."

He added: "I find myself in the unique position to be a part of the organisation long enough to understand its realities and am able to offer that continued momentum, but new enough that I am not tangled up in its history."

Mr Hylton joined Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service in 1997.

He worked in a variety of roles before he was appointed head of community safety in 2010.

He established the first "joint education and enforcement team" with Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Police and implemented the Cambridgeshire service's first volunteer scheme.

He became assistant chief fire officer at Cambridge in 2016.

He joined the Essex service in 2019.

He had responsibilities for strategic planning, assurance and performance, and was the strategic lead in collaboration, working to deliver a local business case with the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner's office.

He has a master's in public administration from Warwick University.

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