As the Paralympics came to a conclusion Lord Coe said: "We will never think of sport the same way and we will never think of disability the same way."
The challenge to all of us now is to make sure that is the case. I am sure that, like me, you have not failed to be impressed with the efforts of the Paralympians. Their athleticism and commitment really does challenge the perceptions of disability that all too often can become cheap abuse, bullying and worse. To see stadiums packed to the gunnels, to watch the 100 metres final, to see the awesome wheelchair rugby is a slap in the face for those who stigmatise and demean. It has been life affirming and inspiring from the moment that the flame arrived to Coldplay's last note.
Rises in cases of disability hate crime have caused a debate on stigmatisation, and speculation as to the reasons for the increase. But from an ACPO point of view there is little doubt that the overall levels of reported incidents still do not reflect the true extent of actual incidents. The same conclusion has been drawn by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
A number of police officers, including myself, gave evidence to the EHRC inquiry into disability hate crime. Forces have sought to respond to the publication of the EHRC Hidden In Plain Sight report by finding ways to ensure reporting of disability hate crime increases, and that support is provided to victims and witnesses. Of course that is likely to be one of the reasons that our awareness of disability hate crime is increasing; as forces engage with members of disabled communities and better understand their concerns and experiences, then reporting will increase. As a consequence what will also increase is effective action to solve problems, and to target offenders.
That action will best happen in a partnership framework. The EHRC heard evidence from many others beyond policing. Certainly I gave evidence with local partners from both the County and District Council, outlining a shared approach to providing access and opportunity. I know that my colleagues from British Transport Police are working within their partnerships to see how experiences on transport links can be enhanced.
Such work will be supported by the emerging national hate crime guidance. This will capture what works, outline effective ways of working and ensure that disability hate crime is treated professionally.
None of this can take place without listening to the views of service users. In the coming weeks I shall be meeting again with members of disabled communities to see what they think of the work to date.
There has been much talk of an Olympic legacy. I am hopeful that part of the Paralympic legacy will be a reduction in stigmatisation, an acceptance of difference, and further improvements in the policing of disability hate crime.
Simon Cole, Chief Constable of Leicestershire and ACPO lead on mental health and disability