As with police officers, a PCSO cannot stop you on the street and request your details on a whim. They must have a valid reason for asking for your name and address, insofar that they believe you have committed or (are about to commit) an offence…
However you are under no obligation to answer. But the PCSO may alert a police officer who could arrest you for failing to comply if they believe you have committed an offence.
For the most part, PCSOs tend to demand such details when they are attempting to issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN) for a minor offence such as littering, anti-social behaviour, dog control and some traffic offences. As the majority of these FPNs are never paid and many of them are ascribed to false addresses, PCSOs are told to be even more forceful and vigilant than usual in acquiring details.
PCSOs are equipped with police radios and can check your details with the Police National Computer (PNC) and electoral register. But if your name does not appear on either of these records it is no reason for the PCSO to detain you once you have surrendered your details (Unless they have good cause to believe that you are lying).
If you do choose to give a name and address, the PCSO has no right to demand I.D to prove who you are. Nor can they search you to obtain proof of your identity. Furthermore, a PCSO can detain you for only up to 30 minutes. Then you have the right to walk away and they cannot stop you from leaving.
However, if you try to make-off while a PCSO is issuing a FPN, they can only use ‘reasonable force’ to restrain you. But ONLY IF THE RELEVANT LOCAL AUTHORITY HAS GRANTED THEM SUCH POWERS.
If you are unsure if the PCSO has the powers to lawfully restrain you then ask to see their DESIGNATION CARD. This is similar to a policeman’s warrant card, but instead lists all the designated powers the PCSO has been granted.
A PCSO must show you this card on request when exercising any of their powers.