Vancouver A demand that is heard ever more these days around Vancouver is the need for civilian oversight of the police. Not just the municipal force, which has more than 1,000 officers, but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - the national police service. The Vancouver satellite cities of Surrey and Richmond both use the Mounties as their police force. New chief constable-designate Jim Chu, for the Vancouver police, has kept mum about what he thinks of civilian oversight, but it will be tough for him to avoid the issue when he takes over next month. His predecessor, Jamie Graham, made no bones about his contempt for having civilians watch over and judge police actions. Just weeks before Mr Graham's retirement, Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld (a civilian officer who reports directly to the provincial legislature) overturned a decision by the Vancouver police board and ordered an investigation into his conduct. An earlier investigation of the Vancouver police was conducted by the Mounties after a legal-aid group for the poor in the Downtown Eastside gathered 50 affidavits from residents about police misconduct. It found 11 allegations could result in charges. Mr Graham disagreed and, after allowing non-co-operation from his officers, ordered his own internal investigation. To the surprise of no one, a five-month investigation found that none of the charges could be substantiated. The rancorous relationship between Vancouver police and groups pushing for better oversight has become a provincial issue, with examples arising in other British Columbia jurisdictions. Last week, in the Sechelt community, angry residents demanded an independent investigation into the actions of Mounties after children and women were attacked with pepper spray after a parade that police believed was getting out of hand. Another key case involved Ian Bush, a young man who was arrested for drinking in public. Bush ended up dead, shot by a junior officer of the Mounties, who claims it was in self-defence. A coroner's inquest has recommended police officers should not be left alone with someone newly arrested, and that the Mounties install recording equipment in stations and its use be made mandatory. But the recommendations fall far below the demands of Bush's family, who say they have been frustrated in their efforts to have an independent body investigate their son's death. The coroner's jury is not allowed to find fault. But the family hoped it would recommend that the Mounties no longer investigate themselves. 'Unfortunately, I feel a bit deflated now,' said the dead man's mother, Linda Bush. 'This is not the end. We will continue on in our quest to make the changes necessary.' On the day that the jury returned its findings, Ottawa made a historic decision, appointing for the first time in the Mounties' 134-year-old history a civilian to the top job. The new commissioner is a career bureaucrat who began as a Conservative Party aide. 'I don't wear rose-coloured glasses,' said William Elliot at a news conference on his appointment. 'Certain members of the RCMP have expressed their wish to have a commissioner from inside.' A civilian at the top is one thing, but it does nothing to quiet the clamour over police investigating themselves.