Although a renewed interest in us all keeping fit and healthy will be a fitting legacy, a tolerance for one another and a reduction in hate crime figures post-Olympics will be beneficial, too, says JFHC editor Penny Hosie (23 July):
Today I took my children along to see the Olympic Flame pass through Lewisham. We purposefully kept away from the main handover areas because of the crowds, so were pleased to find that, purely by chance, we ended up positioned by one of the lesser publicised handover points. I have since found out that the Torch was handed over to Mark Healey, a campaigner against hate crime. Mark set up the hate crime charity 17-24-30 in 1999 to mark the 10th anniversary of The London nail bomb attacks. Mark was carrying the flame in memory of those who've been victims of hate crime and has also organised an annual vigil against hate crime in Trafalgar Square with over 10,000 attendees.
Hate crime is defined by The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service as "any crime where the perpetrator's hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised". A hate crime is any criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim's disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity. Increasingly age has been a factor is some recent hate crime cases. In essence, hate crime can affect anyone. Healey is brave to take a stand against it - and he certainly looked chuffed to bits to carry the Torch.
I also thought it strangely fitting, as well as poignant, that the day started with the mother of Stephen Lawrence, one of the UK's most famous victims of hate crime. Stephen's mother, Doreen, always impresses with her well chosen and dignified words, and admitted she felt "quite emotional" during her torchbearing experience, carried out in memory of her son. It was moving to see her hand the Torch (both literally and figuratively) to the Young Mayor of Lewisham, Kieran Lang. Lang, a 16-year-old black student, is just two years younger than Stephen was when he died - and someone who Doreen sees as a great role model for young people today.
I was going to blog this week about childhood obesity and the fact I hope the Olympics inspires young people to be more active. However, with all the eyes of the world on London, I think London 2012 stands for much more than that. Uniting countries and people together I hope the feelings of pride generated by sporting achievements from all round the globe means that the legacy is a renewed accceptance, appreciation and tolerance of different cultures and beliefs.
Hate crime figures have been rising in recent years. I'd like to think that post-Olympics we can reverse this worrying upward trend. If so, this will be a true and lasting Olympic legacy.
For more on police efforts to reduce hate crime, visit our sister sitewww.policingtoday.co.uk