PLEASE NOTE: This information is NOT CANON for the Elite: Dangerous setting.
This article refers to the Galactic Co-operative of Worlds. The contraction GalCop can also refer to the Galactic Police.
GalCop, or the Galactic Co-operative of Worlds, are the galactic government. They maintain and control all orbiting stations as well as the police force and the Galactic Navy.
GalCop is practically unique amongst the interstellar agencies in that they have minimal involvement with the society of a world, solely concerning themselves with the orbital space of the planet.
The organisation is the largest unified body in terms of planetary members, with the last count of worlds being over 1,000.
The Galactic Co-operative of Worlds was officially created in 2696, being formed from the loose alliance of systems known as the Old Worlds. These planets, led by Lave, had seceded from the Galactic Federation around 2500 following allegations of attempted genocide against non-humanoid peoples in that area.
The Old Worlds Alliance owes much of its success to the discovery of the wormhole network that crosses the hyperspace realm. This network connects several distant areas of the galaxy and allows relatively easy travel between these areas. In the early days of exploration, the belief was that these areas was separate galaxies, and the moniker stuck even after it was discovered that they were simply areas of the one home galaxy.
When several planets of these other galaxies accepted membership into the OWA, the leaders of that alliance decided that a further level of organisation was required, and the seed of the Galactic Co-operative of Worlds was planted. The intent was to create a self-governing trade and defence agency that would train and employ pilots to run commercial services across all eight sectors. Under the command of a primarily civilian council of leaders, this new organisation would ensure that each world retained its individuality but would receive any and all aid that was requested or required.
Thus was the ideal of the Galactic Co-operative of Worlds born.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, the minority of unscrupulous individuals raised their heads and began to threaten the trade routes - piracy was born. To combat this, the GalCop council ruled that a space police force was required. Initially it was this organisation that had the ability to forcefully deal with piracy or the like, but it was not long before the right of defence was provided to the average pilot. GalCop's training programme began to include combat training in 2772.
The Thargoid Threat
The largest threat to GalCop has, of course, been the Thargoids and their invasion fleets. This insectoid race has been a constant and real threat since 2850, when the first encounter between humanity and insect occurred. The immediate answer to that threat was the expansion and upgrade of the police fleets to become a more militaristic arm of defence. Over time, the roles of warfare and policing would separate with the ratification of the Galactic Naval arm. Although there are several guesses as to the actual date of the formation of the Navy, most experts have put the time around 2870, as the borders of war zones became stable.
GalCop remains a peaceful organisation, with only a peripheral involvement in the governing of a world. The only real effect to any member world would be an improvement in the quality of life and the availability of resources.
GalCop has classified most worlds in two main areas - those of government type and technological ability. At the simplest level, a world is categorised as industrial or agricultural, and from there a tech level is assigned. In terms of government, this rating can vary in terms of peacefulness from the strictly governed Corporate State to the lawless and dangerous Anarchy. Often the government type can have a direct influence on the common inhabitants of the spacelanes. Lawless governments tend to attract the more lawless individual.
GalCop is perhaps one of the most amenable of interstellar alliances. They are proud to state that they have peaceful relations with nearly every other organisation that they share space with. The most notable exceptions to this are the Galactic Federation (who still harbour ill-feeling regarding the secession) and the Empire of Achenar, who share much of the same space with GalCop worlds.
Those who train as GalCop commercial pilots are proud to make themselves available as reserve navy pilots in case of enemy invasion. It is this fact that has driven a wedge between GalCop and the Empire of Achenar, since the latter organisation claims that this provides GalCop with an unfeasibly large standing offensive force.