Scotland Yard admitted "shocking" failings in a 2005 rape investigation as it agreed an out of court settlement with a young victim.
The alleged attacker of a 15-year-old girl was acquitted when the Metropolitan Police lost evidence in what the trial judge branded a "disgrace".
An investigation led to four officers being reprimanded and a shake-up of sexual offence teams after it emerged officers had been told to make car crime a higher priority.
The girl's family took legal action, claiming her human rights had been breached, but have now agreed to settle for a reported £15,000. Her mother complained to the BBC that the force fought "really dirty" against the claim.
"Had they put the same amount of effort into investigating my daughter's rape, I reckon he would probably have been found guilty," she said. "To be honest the way they fought it was really dirty and I just think they should have just held their hands up and said, 'we're sorry'."
Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, who heads the Met's Sapphire sexual offences unit, conceded that rape was not taken sufficiently seriously at the time. But he insisted that the subsequent shake-up had significantly improved its response.
The case had been handled by an "inexperienced, untrained, poorly-supervised, under-resourced" team, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"I have reviewed the investigation again recently and it is shocking. The trial judge said it was a disgrace and I don't disagree," he said. "I want to reassure you that the Met now take rape as an extremely serious offence, it is a priority for us," he said - accepting that officers were previously told to put car crime first. "This case was in 2005 - and that is seven, eight years ago. I am confident that those sort of mistakes that happened then will not happen now."
In a statement, Scotland Yard defended its handling of the case, saying: "There are points of law and processes that are gone through with any legal claim received by the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service). We are aware of the victim's comments of distress at the legal proceedings, and that some legal arguments may have appeared insensitive to the victim, but that is not the intention of the MPS.
"Following the legal arguments there were discussions with the victim's solicitor with regard to settlement and we came to a mutual agreement on an amount."