From time to time, I have been critical of CCP's decisions when it comes to changing EVE's game mechanics. Smart people often ask me, "James 315, what would you change to make EVE a better game?" An easy reply would be to roll back some of the bad changes from the last few years. I might say that CCP could easily improve the game by simply giving us back awoxing, can-flipping, hyperdunking, and boomerang ganking. I could go on. And I will, but about something else.
Aside from those obvious ideas, I would like to offer an entirely new proposal: The removal of faction police.
For those who are unfamiliar with highsec mechanics, it's important to understand what the faction police are, and I'll give you a quick assist: Faction police are not CONCORD (which automatically kill suicide gankers) or faction navies (which attack players with low faction standings). Faction police attack players who have low security status in highsec. If a player has low sec status and remains on the same grid for about 20 seconds, faction police appear and automatically hold that player in place, and eventually kill him.
Faction police are the reason that players with low sec status must constantly bounce around and avoid staying in the same place for more than a few moments. Unlike CONCORD, faction police will seal a player's doom even if he has not committed a hostile act. Faction police function entirely separately from CONCORD. They don't have much impact on the ganks themselves, as they generally show up after CONCORD has already jammed a ganker, and where they don't (like a 0.5 system), they only have a chance at jamming a ganker before CONCORD performs its 100% guaranteed jam.
A lot of people, especially disingenuous carebears, might wonder why it would be a good idea to remove faction police. After all, they say, there should be some penalty for operating with negative sec status in highsec. Indeed, the advocates of a risk-free highsec frequently demand additional penalties (due to One More Nerf™ syndrome).
Aside from dealing with faction police, those with very low sec status have another penalty in highsec: They're freely attackable by everyone. They operate, in essence, as if there's a permanent kill right on them which is always active. This creates the potential for an enormous amount of content. Or it would, if not for the existence of faction police.
Because faction police prevent a low-security player from being on the same grid for more than about 20 seconds, these players can basically do only one thing: Participate in highly coordinated, well-prepared, perfectly timed suicide ganks. If you're not ganking, you're traveling gate-to-gate or gate-to-station in a pod with instant align time. In other words, you can't be attacked unless you're ganking, in which case your ship is already intended for death.
Being a blinky red does have one effect, which is that an Anti-Ganker can preemptively attack a ganker before the ganker opens fire on his target, or maybe preemptively tackle a ganker on his way out of a stargate if the ganker's target is in a neighboring system. (Ironically, Anti-Gankers complain most about their inability to "preemptively" strike at gankers, when it's really the only thing they can do under the mechanics.)
In theory, a low-security player could loiter around busy stargates, inviting a fight from anyone who dares. If someone wants a fight--or if a group wants a fight--they could open fire, allowing the low-security player to retaliate freely, instead of losing his ship to CONCORD. But because of faction police, the low-security player will be tackled and killed by NPCs anyway within a few seconds. Thus, the low-security player has the incentive neither to engage in a fight or even pilot a ship (other than a throw-away ganking vessel).
I think the idea of making low-security players into blinky reds was that they're considered criminals who can be attacked by vigilantes. CONCORD won't bring them to justice unless they gank someone, but any player in EVE is free to make a sort of citizen's arrest. Maybe they succeed, or maybe the ganker fights them off and gets away. It seems counter-intuitive for CCP to set the stage for this kind of content, and then have it eliminated by NPC interference.
It's clear, then, that the removal of faction police opens the door to a lot more content and conflict, both of which EVE could use. What would we lose by removing faction police? Nothing that I can think of. Low-security players can travel freely by warping in their pods, and the fact that gankers must time their ganks and prepare warp-ins obviously doesn't save carebears from being shot. Faction police don't add anything to the game; they only take from it.
Additional benefits of scrapping the facpo: Players who earned their negative sec status by living in lowsec have greater access to highsec, if they're willing to brave the vigilantes who lurk there. Lowsec conflicts can bubble into highsec, since lowsec players of warring factions can now use regular ships to patrol highsec trade routes and lowsec entry points--while risking interference from any EVE player who wants to take a shot at them.
Interestingly, CCP devs have occasionally spoken of their desire to remove NPC police mechanics and replace them with player-driven content, but they've never actually made a move to do it. Removing faction police would be a good first step.
My prediction: If CCP eliminates faction police, EVE subscriptions will skyrocket and everyone at CCP will get rich!