An attempt to take over the fire service that cost the taxpayer £175,000 has been branded a “waste of cash”.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd submitted the bid to take control of the fire service from Hertfordshire County Council last summer.

Mr Lloyd argued bringing the emergency services together under his responsibility would improve public safety, increase co-operation between the services and cut costs.

But in September, Mr Lloyd “suspended” the bid having signed an agreement with the county council to consider other ways the police and fire service could work together.

A Freedom of Information request made to the commissioner’s office by a resident in Hitchin who did not wish to be named, revealed £175,000 had been spent on the endeavour.

A government grant of £125,000 was also received, which Mr Lloyd’s office said brought the net cost to £50,000.

Speaking about his FoI request, the Hitchin man told the Watford Observer: “I think it’s outrageous, purely political. Spending taxpayers’ money to enlarge his empire.

“I don’t think it was a good idea. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. They are two completely separate entities.

“I think he ought to concentrate on what he should be doing which is police business. We don’t need a politician up there.

“There is no money about, but they can give £125,000 to this particular police crime commissioner.”

Cllr Sara Bedford, leader of Three Rivers District Council, said: “This is evidence of a waste of public money that could have been used to provide more local police officers.

“The ‘takeover bid’ from the commissioner was opposed by Hertfordshire County Council, Three Rivers, and Watford councils. It should never have been put forward in the first place, let alone allowed to waste this amount of cash.”

A spokesperson for the Office of the Police Crimes Commissioner, said: “The final figure has not yet been finalised. When finalised a full statement will be issued by the Police Crimes Commissioner.”