By Owen Sheppard
A mother whose son and “best friend” was murdered by another teenager has backed the creation of a new “gangs unit” in West London.
Siraad Aden, 48, was heartbroken when the life of her “special boy”, Ayub Hassan, 17, was taken on March 7 last year.
The “talented” boy from White City, who went to Hammersmith College and dreamed of becoming a barrister, was stabbed to death by a 15-year-old outside a West Kensington Waitrose.
Ms Aden spoke after planting a commemorative tree for Ayub in Wormholt Park with his sister Ayaan, 12, and brother Guled, age nine.
A wooden bench was also unveiled at the gathering on March 12, which drew a crowd of Ayub’s old Phoenix Academy school friends, local police and Hammersmith and Fulham councillors.
“Ayub was a special boy. He was my son and my best friend,” said Ms Aden, originally from Somalia.
“He left something special in my heart because he was a young talented boy who tried to help his family.
“He looked after me and his two siblings. I’m a single mother and he helped me look after them. He was a role model. I didn’t worry when I had him.”
The brave mother praised Hammersmith and Fulham Council as it announced the new Gangs, Violence & Exploitation Unit – a collaboration between council officers and the Met Police which will be the biggest of its kind in London.
Using £4.5 million of the council’s own money, the unit of 82 officers, including 14 police investigators and 70 council personnel, will be tasked with keeping residents safe from crime and anti-social behaviour.
They will also patrol the borough’s streets, gather intelligence on local gangs, monitor the council’s “expansive” CCTV network and provide an “overnight enforcement presence” to respond in real-time to issues affecting residents.
Ms Aden said: “Every mother has a dream to see her son grow up happy. Now I want to support the council’s gangs unit.
“I am really happy about the way we have been treated by Hammersmith and Fulham since Ayub passed away.
“We must try now to stop the violence. I don’t want to see this kind of suffering happen to any other parents.
“Working together with Hammersmith and Fulham I want children to be safe.”
At Thursday’s event, council leader Stephen Cowan said: “We’re here for two things, to support Siraad, Ayub Hassan’s mother, but we’re also here to set a mark in this tree, that every single child matters to us and we will always remember each and every child throughout the future.
“The reason that’s so important is because we’re about to launch one of the biggest anti-crime measures ever taken by any council in the country.
“That underlines our view, that each and every one of the children here is the most sacred thing to their parents and to their friends and family and their community.”
The council said the £4.5 million will partly come from money paid by companies who have received planning permission for large-scale developments in the borough.
Last month, the council said its budget for 2020-21 would also include £5.5 million to open two new youth centres in Sands End and White City.
Ayub’s killer, now aged 16, cannot be named due to his age, but he was found guilty of murder on September 6 last year.
On September 27, the boy was jailed at the Old Bailey for at least 15 years.
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