Ministry of Justice figures show that 411 criminals were sentenced or cautioned for a first knife or offensive weapon crime in the year to June.
They accounted for 69 per cent of all knife-related cautions and convictions in Nottinghamshire, and represented the highest number of first-time offenders since the year to June 2009.
The statistics include possession of, or threatening with, a knife or offensive weapon, and one sentence or caution can include multiple offences.
The figures also show that children aged 10 to 15 were convicted or cautioned on 59 occasions in Nottinghamshire – accounting for ten per cent of knife-related crimes in the area.
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, said a future with ‘no qualifications, no job prospects and no role models’ is making many young people vulnerable to gangs who coerce them into carrying knives.
He added: “The Government urgently needs to work with charities, education, health, youth workers, the criminal justice system and local communities to find long-term answers and restore children’s hope, so they have a reason to turn away from crime.”
In Nottinghamshire, 34 per cent of convictions and cautions for knife-related crime led to an immediate prison sentence.
Mr Khan said: “Tough sentences are part of the solution, but we need to tackle the root causes and understand why those involved carry knives.”