updated 7/20/2006 3:36:41 PM ET 2006-07-20T19:36:41

A New Zealand policewoman has been censured for some unauthorized "undercover" work — a stint moonlighting as a prostitute — but is being allowed to keep her day job after giving up the night duties.

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While prostitution is legal in New Zealand and police are allowed to take approved second jobs, a top officer said sex work and police work don't mix.

The policewoman had worked for a limited time as a prostitute in the northern city of Auckland before her clandestine activity was uncovered, police said. Her name and rank have not been made public.

Police media communications manager Jon Neilson said he understood the officer had taken up "secondary employment due to financial difficulties" but had not sought police approval to work in the sex industry.

She has been counseled over the matter, which "under police procedures ... amounts to a censure," said Deputy Police Commissioner Lyn Provost.

"I can assure the public that ... this type of secondary employment would never be approved given that the type of work is inappropriate and incompatible with policing," Provost said.

A spokeswoman for the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective said that depending on the brothel in which she worked, the police officer could have earned 500 New Zealand dollars (US$312) on a busy night.

Had she heard of other police officers moonlighting as sex workers?

"We have law students that are sex workers, we have doctors that are sex workers, I mean anyone can be a sex worker," the woman said, asking that she not be named due to the sensitive nature of her job.

"NZPC's philosophy is that we support people that are in that (for) secondary employment," she added.

Police Minister Annette King called the matter an internal police employment issue. It was "inappropriate" for her to comment.

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